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February 20, 2012 at 11:54 AMComments: 8 Faves: 0

FOOD: Playing With Fire: 5 Good Reasons to Eat Spicy

By Sue More Blogs by This Author

The "hotter the better" and "I dare you" attitude gives the spicy cook a category all their own. Never a rule follower, I use recipes as inspiration and rarely follow them. I love lots of kick and want my food to scream “wow”!

But besides the burning sensation, sweating, and other physical effects caused by spicy foods there are also some positive health benefits!

Here are just 5 good reason to kick things up a notch:

  1. Your Waistline: Studies show that the main compound in chilies, called capsaicin, has a thermogenic effect and may cause the body to burn more calories for 20 minutes post chow-down.
  2. Your Heart: Studies show that cultures that eat the spiciest foods have much lower incidence of heart attack and stroke. Potential reasons: Chili peppers can reduce the damaging effects of LDL (bad cholesterol) and capsaicin may fight inflammation, which has been flagged as a risk factor for heart issues.
  3. Your Cells: According to the American Association for Cancer Research, capsaicin has the ability to kill some cancer and leukemic cells. One particular spice, turmeric, found in curry powder and some mustards, may slow the spread of cancer and growth of tumors.
  4. Your Blood Pressure: Vitamins A and C strengthen the heart muscle walls, and the heat of the pepper increases blood flow throughout your body. All of this equals a stronger cardiovascular system.
  5. Your Mood: Spicy foods boost production of feel-good hormones, such as serotonin. So they may help ease depression and stress.

Regardless of the health effects, I like spicy food and encourage everyone to kick their tacos, wraps, nachos and eggs up a notch with my super simple salsa recipe.

Sue’s Fiery Jalepeno Salsa

A word of advice: make sure you give fair warning to your friends and family before serving up these power packed dishes! ;) (Yields: 6 half pints or make fresh and store in refrigerator)

Ingredients:

6 large seeded chopped peeled tomatoes
2 cups seeded chopped green peppers
1 cup seeded jalapeno pepper, chopped
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 cups cider or wine vinegar

Directions:

Combine tomatoes, peppers, onions, salt, garlic, and vinegar in a large pot.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
Pour into hot jars leaving 1/4 teaspoon head space an adjust the caps
Process for 30 minutes in boiling water bath.

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8 Comments

  • I think I'm a rule breaker too, Sue! This salsa recipe sounds like a BBQ sauce I've made before - just swap out salt for sugar or honey and you're halfway there. :)

  • I think I'm more of the Scientist-Baker-Guerilla hybrid. I don't make bake, sweet, delicious things, but prefer long/delayed cold fermentation and the precision of weighing all my ingredients. I love to grill, especially vegetables (home-grown eggplant burgers anyone?) with some kind of made-up marinade, and enjoy the challenge of the quick saute as well.

  • Great article, Sue! I find that I eat less when the food is spicey because I am drinking more water. Thus, more spice = less calories for me.

  • Thanks Jeffrey. I also find that I pace myself when eating spicy foods. I can't eat it too fast or I'll have a hot flash in my mouth. Slower eating means I give my brain more time to receive signals that I'm full.

  • sounds great - how can I get a sample? just to make sure it tastes as good as it sounds?

  • Thanks for posting this Sue! That salsa looks so tasty. Never knew that spicy foods were so good for you. Good to know!

  • Sounds good, I will have to try this. I love spicy stuff!!!

  • YES! I love spicy foods! I love them even more now that they're good for me.

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