By Dr Harold Gunatillake - Health Writer
Chinese have been eating spicy food for ages. Westerners would sprinkle some Sriracha sauce or Tabasco and call it spicy. Yes, Sriracha sauce contains chilli sauce made from the paste of chilli peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt, and could be very spicy if much is added into your meal. On the other hand Asians and Chinese do incorporate such ingredients in the cooking process as flavourings.
In Thailand, Sriracha is used as a dripping sauce. Particularly for seafood, In Vietnamese cuisine this sauce is added as a condiment for pho, fried Huy Fong Foods. Asians believe in addition to create a biting pungency spicy taste, adds cut or whole chillies, and chilli powder directly during the cooking process.
The beneficial effects of capsaicin in red peppers have been documented in experimental studies. Such studies include relief from cancer, peptic ulcer, menopausal problems, low risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. These peppers have anti-inflammatory analgesic properties and are incorporated in sprays, ointments for the relief of fibromyalgia.
In a study of half a million people in China eating spicy food the researchers found that their risk of death is reduced by 10 percent. There are other studies done in India and China when eating spicy food regularly shows that your risk of death from heart diseases, cancer and diabetes, are much reduced by as much as 14%
Spices in Indian food have major role to play. India grows over 50 different varieties of spices. There is a huge demand for Indian spices in the world market as most people of all nationalities are beginning to acquire the taste for spicy foods and their known health benefits. Spices are good not only for taste buds, but have antioxidants and potent inhibitor of tissue damage and their anti-inflammatory effects on chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Most spices have phenolic compounds which can block the formation of compounds that contribute to damage of tissues caused by metabolic disorders.
Chillies make you slim
This is referred to as diet-induced thermogenesis. Added spices and chillies into curries when eaten with a carbohydrate diet like rice or pasta seem to further accelerate this process. This process of thermogenesis seems to lessen with fatty foods.
It is also a known fact that spicing up fatty meals with chillie powder significantly increased the levels of diet induced thermogenesis. Keep a bottle of chillie powder shaker instead of the traditional salt shaker on your dining table.
This was revealed in a report shared at the 243rd National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society held in San Diego.
Chillies being hot can cause dilatation of peripheral arteries and lower your blood pressure. It can reduce your blood cholesterol minimally. According to Dr Yu Chen, who presented a study pointed out genes and other mechanisms may influence cholesterol and the health of blood vessels.
The heart health function is boosted by lowering the cholesterol levels by reducing accumulated cholesterol in the body and increasing its breakdown, excretion in the faeces and blocking the action of gene which makes arteries contract restricting the flow of blood to the heart and organs, according to Dr Chen’s team.
Some have weak gut lining
Those who suffer from heartburn may not be able to tolerate spicy foods. These foods can cause a bit of inflammation of the large bowel (colitis and proctitis) and cause an uncomfortable smarty itchy sensation in the anal region the following morning, which subsides spontaneously.
Good for arthritis
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