What spicy food says about you?


Spiciness is actually not a taste or flavor — it’s your body sensing the presence of certain chemicals, also called chemesthesis. The chemicals in peppers and other spicy foods can be a deterrent to some animals and serve as a protective mechanism for a plant, but some humans have developed an affinity for this feeling and seek it out in their cuisine. As one study puts it, some people exhibit a preference for oral burn.

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Interestingly, studies now show this love for heat is also linked to certain personality traits. If you love the heat of spicy food, you may be a thrill-seeker. People who like spicy foods are attracted to the burning sensation of a compound called capsaicin, which causes a mild feeling of pain when eaten. Chili peppers are commonly associated with spiciness, which is rated on the Scoville scale and measures capsaicin content.

A 2013 study in the Food Quality and Preference Journal describes the many factors that affect a love of spicy foods, ranging from social or cultural influences, how many times you’ve been exposed to capsaicin, physical differences in the sensation of spiciness and a person’s personality traits.

This study also shows that those who seek more frequent chili intake exhibit qualities of “sensation seeking,” or the need for new and complex sensations and “sensitivity to reward behaviors,” which support the researcher’s hypothesis that personality plays a role in whether a person likes spice or not.

There’s good reason to include spices for health as well as for the adventure of eating hot foods. A 2014 study found that healthy compounds in spices, namely flavonoids, work as antioxidants and are associated with a reduced risk of chronic disease.

Capsaicin in particular has been studied extensively in relation to reducing cancer risk, even at relatively low to medium intake levels. Many studies show the most benefit from spices at higher intake levels, so finding ways to include a variety of spices in your diet on a regular basis may offer benefits outside of the kitchen.

If you’re averse to spice but want to enjoy a mild level of capsaicin-containing foods, try sweeter peppers like the Anaheim, ancho, sweet bell or poblano. Increase the heat in your foods by trying Cholula hot sauce, horseradish or wasabi and serrano or jalapeno peppers.

If these medium peppers and sauces are too spicy, start with a very small quantity and work your way up, as studies show that repeat exposure is also associated with enjoying spiciness.

Remember, you can always add spice, but you can’t take it away. The hottest peppers, such as the Carolina Reaper, cayenne pepper, ghost pepper, habanero or Thai chili pepper, should be used only for those who love spice and are accustomed to it; capsaicin content here is much higher than mild or medium peppers. Sensation-seeking folks will likely go for these capsaicin-packed, mouth-burning peppers. Whichever level of spice you enjoy adding to your food, there is a pepper for everyone — so we can all partake in this healthful trend.

 

Don’t want to put on weight as you get older? Try sweet chili peppers and cold spells.


Don’t want to put on weight as you get older? Try sweet chili peppers and cold spells .

Scientists say exposure to moderately cold temperatures and a chemical found in chilies have been shown to boost levels of ‘brown fats’ linked to staving off weight gain.

Scientists have discovered that prolonged exposure to cold temperatures and eating chili peppers can help to prevent people putting on weight as they get older.

In a ground-breaking study from Japan, it has been shown that both cold and a chemical found in the peppers have similar effects in building up levels of BAT (brown adipose tissue), which helps regulate the way the body expends energy.

BAT is a kind of tissue that exists in all babies, found around the neck and chest, but which gradually breaks down as adults get older. This rate varies between people, and previous studies have proven there is a link between BAT levels dropping off and age-related weight-gain setting in.

This is the first time anyone has been able to prove BAT levels can be made to recover once lost. Scientists exposed test subjects to moderately low temperatures, around 17°C, for two hours every day over six weeks.

When compared to a control group that went about their lives as normal, those subjected to cold showed increased levels of BAT – and also lost around 5 per cent of their body fat.

While this might seem a fairly obvious outcome as the test subjects’ bodies work harder to keep warm, what was really surprising was the similar effect on BAT of consuming “capsinoids”, found predominantly in sweet chili peppers.

Capsinoids have been shown to activate temperature sensors in the gut – similar to the way hot-tasting chilies impact sensors in the mouth.

Those studied who ate large quantities of peppers were also seen to experience increases in BAT tissue – though they didn’t, yet, lose body fat. Researchers speculated that a longer study would likely show genuine weight loss to go with the recovery of BAT.

Lead researcher and report author Takeshi Yoneshiro, from the Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, said: “Our results showed that human BAT could be recruited even in individuals who had lost BAT, thereby contributing to body fat reduction. This is the first report of successful recruitment of BAT leading to reduced body fat in humans.”

He added that capsinoids appear to induce so-called “brown fat” in the same way as cold by “capturing” the same cellular system that the body’s nervous system uses to increase heat production.

Source: Journal of Clinical Investigation.

5 Foods to Boost Your Metabolism.


coffee

You’ve decided to eat better by focusing on foods that are good for you, so why not take it a step further and incorporate some metabolism-boosting ingredients into your meals? While we can’t dramatically change the body we were born with, there are a few things we can do (and eat) to make a difference.
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Nutritionist Kelly Aronica shares some advice for giving your metabolism a kick, while we provide some easy meal ideas.

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Turmeric : Full of antioxidants, this colorful spice is also a great way to speed up your metabolism. It’s often found in Indian dishes or curries.

Cayenne and Other Chile Peppers : The capsaicin in chiles is what makes food spicy; so it’s safe to say that if it makes you sweat, it’s increasing your metabolism. These foods also provide carotenoids and twice the amount of vitamin C found in citrus fruits. They can easily be incorporated into a variety of dishes like salads, soups, curries, and more.

Ginger : Is a great ingredient to use because it has gingerols, capsaicin, and piperine – compounds that boost metabolism (they also supposedly have an aphrodisiac effect). Try ginger tea or cooking with real ginger. The spicier you make it, the better.

Caffeine : In the form of coffee or green tea, caffeine is an effective way to boost your metabolism. “Researchers credit the boost in metabolism to tea’s catechins, but you probably need about 2 cups a day to have any effect,” says Kelly Aronica. “However, you will also the get the other possible benefits of green tea that include reduction of risk of cancer and heart disease.” Coffee, in turn, has been shown to increase productivity and concentration, but be warned that because caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, excessive amounts (more than 3-4 cups of coffee per day) have been linked to nervousness and sleeplessness. One to two cups a day, however, has been shown to be safe.

Cinnamon : Raises metabolism and aids in digestion so try adding a healthy dose to your high-fiber oatmeal in the morning! Or, try using it in savory dishes like the ones below.

Wise words and helpful lifestyle advice:
Another way to boost metabolism is to eat regularly: Meal skipping leads to low blood sugar, fatigue, inability to concentrate, and rebound overeating. Most people need to eat every 3-4 hours. This provides a constant flow of energy to your brain and muscles. Also, don’t overeat if you want to stay alert. When the body is flooded with a large meal, the result is a sluggish body and brain. So to keep up energy throughout the day, eat more small meals that each includes some whole grain carbohydrate, fruit/vegetable, and a little protein.

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Other than the exercise, no one of these foods is going to be a miracle weight loss aid. But added to an overall healthy diet and active lifestyle, they can help burn just a few extra calories every day.

Source: yahoo news