When it comes to losing weight, food can be your friend, not just any type of food but hot and spicy food. According to the medical world, one of the most well-known health benefits of hot and spicy food is its ability to raise metabolism, and thus burn extra calories.
Speaking to Dr. Nhlakanipho Mkhize, who is an internal medicine specialist under the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, he said the metabolism (how fast your body burns calories) plays a key role in helping you lose weight and keep your body in tip-top shape.
“Spicy food increases your metabolism and indirectly resulting in weight loss. That is why spicy food increases body temperature and you become sweaty and heart rate increases. But it must be noted that hot and spicy food on its own will not result in significant weight loss. It must be done in combination with a healthy diet and exercise. Also it must be noted that people must ensure that there are no health issues that prohibits them from eating these foods. People with peptic or stomach ulcer disease are discouraged from eating these foods as it makes it the disease worse”, he said.
“Generally, studies have shown that on average a meal containing a spicy dish, like a bowl of chilli, can temporarily increase metabolism by about 8 percent over a person’s normal rate, an amount considered fairly negligible.
But besides a slight uptick in metabolism, these foods may also increase feelings of satiety (feeling of satisfaction). This then causes a person to eat less and lose weight in a long run”, said Mkhize.
And according to Dr. Mkhize these hot and spicy foods could help burn some calories.
“From cayenne to garlic to cinnamon, spices are one of the best ways you can keep your metabolic rates high. Especially speedy are the more pungent spices such as black pepper, mustard seeds, powdered onion and ginger. A Canadian study found that using spices enabled people to burn up to 1,000 more calories daily than those not incorporating spices into their diet”.
“Jalapeno, habanero, cayenne and other forms of spicy peppers directly boost metabolism and circulation. In fact, eating hot peppers not only speeds up your metabolism, it also reduces cravings. This is related to its capsaicin content, a compound that stimulates the body’s pain receptors, temporarily increasing blood circulation and metabolic rate. If you have ever experienced a bout of intense sweating after eating particularly hot tamale, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. In fact, studies have shown that eating hot peppers can boost the metabolism by up to 25%, with the spike lasting for up to three hours”.
So, will you be trying some hot and spicy treats or stick to gym?