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Spice Up Your Health

LongevitySpicyFood2Jacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Spicy cuisine has long been a staple in Indian, Asian and Central American cuisine. Over the last few years, Americans have been steadily acquiring a healthy respect for fiery hot foods. Companies like the NPD Group, a global information company, and SupplyTrack, which tracks every product shipped from major distributors to food service operators, report that millennials and baby boomers are the largest consumers of hot sauces, with 56% of households keeping hot sauce on hand in their kitchens. Cases of hot sauces to restaurants and food service outlets have increased by double digits over the past two years.

While the rates of consumption in the US tend to be regional, hot sauces are quickly becoming indispensable to consumers. Research clearly shows that consumers are becoming more adventurous eaters and their preference for spicy foods and sauces is increasing. That’s good news for improved overall health, as studies show that those who regularly consume hot spicy foods are more likely to enjoy a longer, healthier lifespan. Research and evidence suggest that eating spicy foods may have surprisingly positive effects on heart health, cancer prevention, pain relief, and weight loss, the combination of which provides a recipe for longevity.

The eye-watering, mouth burning pain that comes from biting into an innocent-looking but extremely hot pepper results from capsaicin, an active component of chili peppers. It’s this compound that sends a fiery message from the mouth’s nerve endings to the brain, resulting in a release of endorphins, mood boosting chemicals and natural painkillers, that may keep us going back for more. Bell peppers do not contain capsaicin nor does crushed black pepper. To get the anti-obesity, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antihypertensive effects, fiery peppers are required.

Heart health – Numerous studies have shown that those who live in countries that typically have spicier diets have far fewer heart attacks than those who consume milder diets. Consuming chili peppers appears to improve heart function by negating the effects of LDL cholesterol. Capsaicin helps to reduce inflammation, a risk factor for cardiac and other chronic diseases and may support healthy blood flow by blocking a gene that narrows the arteries.

Weight loss – Eating spicy foods increases body heat, which may help burn calories more quickly, beneficially impacting metabolism and fat burning potential. Studies have shown that those who consume spicy appetizers consume less calories overall, suggesting that spicy foods may help to increase satiety and decrease appetite. Although black pepper doesn’t contain capsaicin, it does contain ispiperine, a substance that gives it flavor and blocks formation of new fat cells. Combine black pepper with crushed chili peppers or ground cayenne to get the full benefit.

Pain relief –  When used regularly, topical creams and patches that contain capsaicin as the active ingredient provide effective relief for arthritic pain, as well as muscle and joint discomfort. Traditionally used for centuries, capsaicin helps to deaden pain sensation by inhibiting pain signals from nerve cells to the brain. Initially, capsaicin can cause a burning sensation. However, capsaicin works by desensitizing sensory receptors in the skin, exhausting pain nerve cells and acting as an analgesic.

Cancer prevention – Capsaicin has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and may be instrumental in inhibiting tumor growth. While further studies are needed, the American Cancer Society has suggested that capsaicin may help slow the growth of prostate cancer cells. Other studies have shown promising results for suppressing breast, pancreatic and bladder cancer cells as well.

To receive the full health and longevity benefits, try to include spicy peppers in your diet two or three times per week. Peppers can be prepared in a variety of ways and cooking them will not reduce their healthful benefits. For those who simply can’t tolerate spicy food or those who want to increase their intake of capsaicin, cayenne supplements may be taken with meals to support cardiovascular health and stimulate healthy digestive function.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality supplements that support overall health and longevity:

Cayenne 475 mgCayenne 475 mg by Dr. Christopher’s FormulasON SALE This pure medicinal and nutritional herbal formula provides 950 mg of cayenne pepper per serving in support of cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health. Vegetarian, kosher formulation.


Cayenne 500 mgCayenne 500 mg by Now Foods – This product supplies 500 mg of cayenne pepper per capsule in support of cardiovascular health and healthy digestive function.


Capsaicin/Arnica...Capsaicin/Arnica Acute Cream by Professional Complementary Health Formulas – This external cream formula provides relief for sore muscles without unnecessary chemicals or solvents. Gluten and additive free formulation.


CayenneCayenne by Herb Pharm – This liquid cayenne extract is sourced from hand-harvested, certified organically grown capsicum peppers. To ensure optimal extraction of cayenne’s bioactive compounds, only fully ripened fruits are utilized. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO formulation.

What is Capsaicin? 9 Topical Uses and Benefits. http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/what-is-capsaicin/
Study Finds People Who East More Spicy Foods Have a Reduced Risk of Premature Death. https://mic.com/articles/123778/study-finds-people-who-eat-more-spicy-foods-have-a-reduced-risk-of-premature-death#.43RqxfLrE
Way More Than Some Like It Hot: Hot Sauce Is Becoming Ubiquitous in Homes and at Foodservice Outlets. https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/2015/way-more-than-some-like-it-hot-hot-sauce-is-becoming-ubiquitous-in-homes-and-at-foodservice-outlets/
Capsaicin for Arthritis. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/supplements-herbs/guide/capsaicin.php
Why You Should Blame Millennials for Spicy Fast Food. http://time.com/money/3825215/fast-food-spices-sriracha-ghost-pepper-trends/
What Are the Health Benefits of Spicy Food? http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-spicy-food-7569.html
8 Hidden Health Benefits of Spicy Food Supported by Science. http://www.lifehack.org/304783/8-hidden-health-benefits-spicy-food-supported-science