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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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