Some like it hot. Whether it’s hot food, a hot body or a bit a hot n’ heavy that you’re after, research is revealing that an interesting chemical naturally found in some of the spiciest foods in the world could help you get all three.
Capsaicin, the plant compound that hikes up the heat in hot peppers, has recently begun firing up the scientific community as well. An incredible array of new research is proving that this stimulating spice strikes up more than just a sweat – it also fires up weight loss, blood sugar balance, heart health, sex drive and pain relief.
A food that makes you slim, sexy, roused and randy? Gimme somma that!
Capsaicin Cuts Fat
A recent study performed at the University of Wyoming found evidence that capsaicin stimulates energy burning and turns white fat into brown fat.
Why would you want to trade one kind of fat for another? The job of your white fat cells is to store up calories for a rainy day. Eating a calorie-rich diet and leading a sedentary lifestyle causes your white fat cells to grow, which can lead to weight gain, insulin sensitivity, obesity and diabetes. The job of your brown fat cells, on the other hand, is to create heat by burning calories. When brown fat cells are activated, they can burn up to 300 calories in 24 hours, while also improving insulin sensitivity, stabilizing blood sugar levels and lowering your risk of obesity and diabetes.
Moreover, the researchers found that you don’t have to burn off your tongue in order to burn off the fat – only a relatively low percentage (0.01%) of capsaicin in a high fat diet was needed to prevent weight gain in mice.
Turn Up the Heat to Lower Blood Pressure & Heart Disease
Hot peppers can really get your heart pumping and improve your heart health in more ways than one.
Research shows that capsaicin can help reduce blood cholesterol levels and triglycerides. Animal research also suggests that long-term consumption of capsaicin containing foods helps to relax the blood vessels and reduce inflammation. And by reducing platelet aggregation and blood fat oxidization, while also increasing the body’s ability to dissolve fibrin, capsaicin also helps to decrease your blood pressure as well as your chances of developing atherosclerosis, dangerous arterial blockages and heart disease.
Outside of the lab, cultures that use a lot of hot pepper in their cuisine have proven to have much lower rates of heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism.
The Feel-Good Spice that Makes You Feel Less Pain
Capsaicin topical ointments are becoming increasingly popular as a natural pain relief option for people suffering from muscle and joint pain, psoriasis, arthritis, diabetic neuropathy, neuralgia and other conditions. The spice activates heat-sensitive channels in your nerves that warns the brain of pain. This activates processes that desensitize your nerves, which inhibits the experience of pain while also creating a calming effect and releasing feel-good endorphins.
Sizzle Up Your Sex Life
And here’s the real sizzler – this winning combination of a soothed soul and feel-good energy plus the exciting zing of a pumping heart, a surge of heat and increased blood flow equals…you guessed it…enhanced libido! In fact, MindLab International Institute found that men were even more sexually aroused by a spicy meal than they were after a passionate kiss from their partners!
So kick up the heat this summer with some seasonal chiles!