Spices are fantastic! They add a unique flavor and taste to our dishes and make our food delicious and nutritious. But do you know that spices do more than make your food hot? If you love cooking with spices due to the mild or extreme hotness and flavor it confers on your meals, you will have more reasons to add spices to your dishes after reading this piece.
Spices, in all their gracious hotness are full of nourishment and multiple health benefits. Here are some of the top health benefits of spices in your nutrition.
May help curb appetite
Several studies show that spicy food may be an effective tool for curbing a galloping appetite. If you find it difficult to get your hands off the cookie jar, or you can’t do without munching something in your mouth, even before going to bed, then you need something to help curtail your unhealthy food cravings. Research has shown spices such as cinnamon to be effective in regulating blood sugar levels, making it easier to get your cravings under control.
According to the results of studies conducted at the University of Georgia, spices such as red cloves, mint, coriander, basil, oregano, lemon balm and lavender are also great at regulating blood sugar levels, effectively stabling your energy levels and keeping you filled for longer.
Spices have anti-inflammatory powers
Research has shown that several spices can help combat inflammation. Inflammation has been implicated in several chronic diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s diabetes, Crohn’s, multiple sclerosis, depression, anxiety and others. Inflammation has been dubbed the secret killer as it has been linked to several health problems which can cause serious damage to a person’s life.
However, researchers have found that spices such as ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, and cloves have potent antioxidants which makes them effective for combating inflammation. Curcumin, the active agent in turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound.
May protect against cancer
Active agents of spices such as curcumin found in turmeric and the capsaicin found in chili peppers have been shown to have cancer-fighting abilities. Researchers working with animal samples have found capsaicin to be effective in stopping the spread of prostate cancer in animals. Also, evidence suggests that curcumin reduces the chances of developing cancer of the breast, bone, brain, and gastrointestinal tract, making it an important spice you should consider adding to your diet regularly.
Do you know that spices may help you live longer? The chances of dying can be reduced by 14 percent if you eat spicy food for six or seven days of the week, as per the findings of a study conducted by Harvard University and China National Center for Diseases Control and Prevention.
While the researchers were unable to establish how spicy food improved longevity and recommended more research to answer several questions, they concluded that regular intake of spicy food may help lower risk factors of death such as heart disease, respiratory diseases, and cancer. So, if you wish to live long enough to see your great great grandchild, maybe you should maintain a spice-rich diet.
May boost nutrient absorption
Some spices encourage the absorption of other nutrients in the body to ensure that we get a well-balanced nutrition for optimal health. Not only do spices increase the taste, flavor, and nutrients in your meals, but they can also help promote nutrient absorption, thus helping us prevent nutrient deficiencies which can impair our health. Scientists have found evidence to show that capsaicin in black pepper promotes the absorption of curcumin from turmeric and it may also help the body better absorb and utilize medication.
Your metabolic rate is an important factor for your physical activity, weight, and energy levels. If you have attained the age of 40, its necessary to engage in activities which promote metabolism.
The capsaicin in cayenne pepper has been found to be an effective metabolism booster. The hotness you feel after eating a meal with cayenne pepper not only affects your mouth, but it raises your general metabolic rate and increases calorie burn, but it is only effective for a short period. However, nothing trumps an effective physical activity if you which to rev up your metabolism.
Can protect you against bacterial infections
Studies show that spices like turmeric and cumin can protect the body against bacterial infections. If you are in a hot and humid place that is conducive for the growth of microbes and infections, then you can prevent such attacks using the antimicrobial and antioxidant powers of turmeric and cumin.
Can act as painkillers
Capsaicin in a powerful compound which is the active ingredient which makes you feel hot. But you are not only feeling the heat in your mouth, but all over your body. Studies have found capsaicin to be effective for reducing the pain symptoms of people who have rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and fibromygala.
Reduces stress levels
Spices can help reduce tension, lower stress and stimulate the release of endorphins and dopamine, two important feel good hormones that help keep our mood in top shape while reducing stress.
May be good for the heart
Societies where the people consume a high amount of spicy food in their diet have been blessed with lower incidents of heart diseases. Studies reveal that capsaicin also helps to control plasma cholesterol levels.
Spices are great for our food but they are even better for our bodies. If you want to live a long and healthy life, you should try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat balanced diet and use spices in your diet. If the hotness becomes an issue for you, try to consume in small amounts until your stomach becomes accustomed to it.