When it comes to eating spicy food, there are two types of people, those who can’t live without it and those who absolutely hate it. Its really rare for someone to fall in between.
I absolutely love spicy food, I cannot live without “pani puri” at all. So to find the answers to my question, I did some research and was quite surprised when I say the reason, well lets start —
The Basics —
Well, spicy foods originate from one key ingredient, i.e, peppers. There are a lot of varieties of hot peppers. For some people, spice is not a condiment, its a lifestyle. But what is the reason behind it? Is it because some people have a higher pain threshold in their mouth? Doesn’t the spice hide the flavors of their food? Well, there a little bit of science behind it.
Every food has an impact on our body and every food takes in and uses energy differently depending on their individual body chemistry. But besides this, food impacts our minds as well. If you’ve ever has a really good meal, you may feel very good and happy. This is a primal biological response that stems from our most basic instincts. A full belly means survival and our body rewards us for that, especially if the food is high in quality and nutritious. This rush of feel-good energy comes in part from endorphins, which is a chemical produced in the brain that makes you feel great. Endorphins are natural pain and stress relievers, are linked to sensations of love and happiness, and are also the source of that “runner’s high” that many people experience after working out. But what do endorphins have to do with spicy foods?
Well, the answers lies in the molecular compound of peppers. Spicy peppers contain a compound called capsaicin. The higher the capsaicin amount, the hotter the pepper. If you’ve ever felt the heat after eating spicy foods, capsaicin is the reason. It is also the reason because of which our body gets tricked into thinking that we have literally touched something hot. Ironically, Capsaicin is a well know pain reliever and is claimed to reduce the effects of arthritis pain, dermatological conditions, and neuropathic pain and is included in some over the counter pain-reliever creams. Because of the fact that it relieves pain, it can also help the body to release endorphins in order to block pain receptors. In other words, foods containing capsaicin pretend to be a physical threat to your body in order to fool it into releasing some good feels (That’s a bit confusing, isn’t it?). So, spices are not only not a threat to our body, they are quite good for it.
The Health Benefits
So how exactly is the power of spiciness being used for larger good? For one thing, as it turns out, cancer cells don’t like capsaicin very much. And while research on this is ongoing, consuming foods with a heated capsaicin kick can aid physical health and wellness in a myriad of other ways, including:
- Alleviating nasal congestion
- Headache prevention
- Allergy relief
- Blood clot prevention
- Balancing cholesterol
- Healthy blood pressure promotion
Are you a hot sauce addict? Do you love spice a lot? Is “pani puri” your favorite dish? Comment down below your opinion.