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8 Hidden Health Benefits Of Spicy Food Supported By Science

8 Hidden Health Benefits Of Spicy Food Supported By Science

Ever go to a restaurant that offers particularly spicy food? Sure you have. And when you go, do you always see a guy sitting in the corner, sweat dripping down his face as he tries to recover from a chicken wing drenched in a scorching-hot ghost chili pepper sauce?

You might ask yourself, “why does he do it?,” or, “what’s the point of putting yourself through that kind of torture?” Lovers of spicy food will tell you that they’re addicted to the flavor and sensation, but I suspect that there’s something else drawing them to it: the fact that it’s incredibly healthy for you.

Indeed, that old saying “no pain, no gain” has never seemed more appropriate. Hold on tight and I’ll tell you all about the good things that fiery foods can do for you!

1. It helps you burn calories.

Turns out that all of that sweating you do while eating spicy foods serves a real purpose. According to a study in the New York Times, consuming a spicy plate of food increases the rate by which your body burns calories by up to 8%. Or in other words, dealing with all of that heat makes your metabolism work faster.

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Other studies have found that folks who eat spicy appetizers consume fewer calories when their main course arrives. So, if you’re looking to shed a few pounds, you might want to consider adding spicy foods to your diet!

2. It protects your heart.

Numerous studies have shown that people in countries with spicier diets tend to have far fewer heart attacks than those in areas with a more mild selection of foods.

The reason? Consuming chili peppers seems to negate the effects of bad cholesterol (also known as LDL). Additionally, capsaicin, the chemical responsible for the burning effect that spicy foods create in your mouth, helps to fight inflammation (which is one of the things that can lead to a heart attack).

3. It can relieve your pain.

This one gets a bit complicated in terms of the scientific explanation, but to put it simply, capsaicin is able to inhibit certain signals sent from your nerve cells to your brain, deadening any sensation of pain you might be feeling.

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This is why capsaicin is often used as an ingredient in pain-relief creams and patches – the burning sensation works to eliminate pain at its source.

4. It will keep you alive longer.

An immense study in China (involving nearly 500,000 people) found that those who eat spicy foods nearly every day may lower their likelihood of death by 14%.

The folks who ran the study say it’s too early to directly link spicy foods to an increased lifespan, but the results do look encouraging. Given all of the health benefits spicy foods have, it really doesn’t surprise me that consuming them frequently might add a year or two to your life.

5. It is chock full of nutrients.

Consuming chilies on a daily basis will make it far easier for you to meet your daily recommended intake of a number of nutrients. These include several vitamins, like A and C, as well as a handful of vital minerals.

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6. It can make you happier.

Eating spicy foods causes your brain to produce ‘happy’ hormones, like serotonin, which makes you better equipped to deal with depression, anxiety, anger, and stress.

This might explain why folks eating super spicy foods always look so happy, even when they’re sweating buckets and crying from the pain!

7. It might stave off cancer.

According to some medical professionals, and the latest research, capsaicin has the same effect on certain cancer cells as powerful cancer-fighting drugs do. Apparently, the chemical is so powerful that it can potentially kill off leukemic cells and slow the growth of deadly tumors.

With that in mind, I say we all buy a bottle of the spiciest hot sauce we can find and use it on everything we eat!

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8. It might make your stomachache feel better.

What!? Spicy foods can settle your stomach? That’s right. New research suggests that consuming spicy foods can lower the amount of gastric acid you produce, reduce any stomach bleeding you might have, and cut your risk of acquiring a peptic ulcer by 53%.

That’s not a bad deal for eating a few chili peppers!

Has this article changed your stance on spicy foods? Has it convinced you to power through the sweat and tears? Let me know in the comments below, and feel free to share any spicy food recipes while you’re at it!

Featured photo credit: 重庆辣子鸡 Chongqing Spicy Chicken/Alpha via flic.kr

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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