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Spicy Food and Longevity

 

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Love spicy food? You’re not alone. According to a recent Instacart survey, 74% of Americans enjoy adding hot sauce to their food. If you love spicy food, keep doing what you’re doing because studies show that spicy food is linked to longevity. If you don’t love spicy food, it’s time to learn to. 

No matter how you add spice to your food, you’re not only adding flavor and nutrition, but you’re increasing your longevity. Studies show that “compared with those who ate spicy foods less than once a week, those who consumed spicy foods 6 or 7 days a week showed a 14% relative risk reduction in total mortality.”

How does that work? 

Capsaicin is the key. It is the compound found in peppers that make them spicy. It is high in vitamins A and C. 

Specifically, spicy foods help prevent heart disease. They increase blood flow, having a positive effect on cardiovascular health. 

Spicy food both speeds up our metabolism, while suppressing our appetites. It also stimulates gut flora and helps keep our gut healthy. 

Spicy food can also give you a pleasant feeling because it causes the release of endorphins which help relieve pain and stress and improve your overall sense of wellbeing. 

Build Up Your Tolerance

If this sounds good and you want in but you can’t tolerate spicy food, there is a way. Spice tolerance is a learned skill, and there are steps you can take to build it up. 

Take the appropriate first step. If you haven’t been using any spice in your foods – don’t start at the top and think you’ll get used to it. Start out mild and increase your spice exposure gradually. 
Not comfortable starting with hot sauces? Try cooking with spices that will bring the heat such as cumin, paprika, and coriander. You can control the amount and ways in which you use them. If those are too mild, start cooking with fresh or canned chilies such as poblano or ancho.
Go slow and steady! Don’t push yourself. There is no value in being uncomfortable or not enjoying your food. 
Cook like the pros. Acids such as lemon or vinegar will help neutralize the spice. Dairy products like sour cream, cheese, and even a glass of milk will also take the spice level down a notch and help cool your mouth. Pro tip: Alcohol and water don’t help and can actually exacerbate the situation. 
Make sure your spicy meal includes some starchy carbs! Rice, bread, pasta, and potatoes will all help cool the burn.
Become a bit of a connoisseur. Not all spice is created equally, and it’s not all the same. Choosing the appropriate spice or hot sauce for each dish can do a lot to increase your enjoyment of spicy food and the speed at which you build up your tolerance. Learn how and when to use different flavor profiles – sweet, salty, savory, sour, and bitter – to compliment your meal. 

Remember, variety is the spice of life! Part of living your 100 Year Lifestyle is trying new things. It just might be time to spice up your healthy longevity! You can start by trying this recipe for Perfect Pico de Gallo!

100 Year Chiropractors also bring the heat when it comes to your healthy longevity. Find a provider near you today!

 

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