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The Science Behind Spicy Food Boosting Longevity

The Science Behind Spicy Food Boosting Longevity

Next time you suggest Indian food for dinner and your friends vote for burgers, you can tell them that science says spicy food will save their lives. Well, at least it’ll help them live longer and healthier.

Of course, we’re not talking about Flamin’ Cheetos here, nor force-feeding yourself a double serving of nuclear-level spicy buffalo wings. This should not, by any means, be understood as the path to health and wellness.

But according to this much quoted study from the BMJ people who ate food spiced with dried or fresh chili peppers, specifically on a consistent basis, lived longer and with fewer ailments than those who did not.

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What’s the connection?

Lower Cancer Risk and a Healthier Heart

There is a lot of research out there finding strong connections between capsaicin, a major bioactive ingredient in chili powder, and a lower cancer risk, decreased gastro-intestinal complications, and better cardiovascular health. These studies credit the far-reaching anti-inflammatory properties of capsaicin as one of the reasons behind the remarkable benefits spicy food can offer the body.

Balanced Gut and Blood Sugar Levels

These spices have a powerful affect on the microbiome and gut flora as well, and have been shown to lower the risk of metabolic syndrome and even diabetes, as they help to improve glucose homeostasis.

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That is, it balances out your internal ecosystem in a way that helps your body to more readily deal with breaking down foods and distributing sugar at a normal level. It’s when you’re out of whack that you develop problems like insulin resistance or diabetes.

Prevents Weight Gain and Promotes Weight Loss

Another way spicy food could be linked to longevity is in the fact that it actually deceases appetite and can therefore lower the risk for obesity, and the many complications that can arise from obesity.

Spicy food has also been credited with helping weight loss in two ways:

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  • Pain relief – making exercise and recovery from injuries easier.
  • Metabolism increase – kicking your fat-burning abilities up a notch.

So, overall, spicy food can help battle the numerous complications associated with obesity, both before it becomes a problem, and also afterwards.

Boosts The Immune System and Fights Infection

The BMJ study also noted that increased consumption of spicy foods like chili powder lowers the risk of death due to infections in women. This is backed by many other studies that associate the consumption of capsaicin with improved physical health; this also connects with its capacity to assist in halting bacterial growth.

Study Limitations

The BMJ study, which received so much buzz, noted some of its own limitations. For example, it acknowledged that it didn’t delve into the other factors that could have affected longevity, such as the further lifestyle habits of participants, as noted in this article on the study by CNN.

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Cooking methods and other possible variables which could change the composition and breakdown of the spices, also could have made a difference in the connections drawn between highly spiced foods and lower death rates.

Moreover, BMJ acknowledged that it was a controlled, observational study that took place within a single culture (China). Hence the results could vary if the study was transferred to another environment.

The Facts Remain

But all-in-all, there seem to be clear connections between foods spiced with chili powder and positive health benefits.This validation transforms these ideas from old wives tales into reputable facts.

People have enjoyed food spiced with these healing and balancing ingredients for ages- and for good reason! The benefits of these ancient herbs are profound. The scientific world has taken interest in these powerhouses of health and have taken on the task of monitoring and measuring their benefits.

Of course, there’s no reason to put yourself in pain to reap rewards. There’s no evidence to suggest that hotter necessarily equals healthier. Just a little extra spice can go a long way in boosting the flavor profile on your plate- and potentially, the vibrancy and length of your life.

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Hannah Glenn

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

How to Overcome Boredom

How to Overcome Boredom

Have you ever been bored? Restless? Fidgety? In need of some inspiration?

I have a theory on boredom. I believe that the rate of boredom has increased alongside the pace of technology.

If you think about it, technology has provided us with mobile phones, laptops, Ipads, device after device – all to ultimately fix one problem: boredom.

What is Boredom?

We have become a global nation that feeds on entertainment. We associate ‘living’ with ‘doing’. People now do not know how to sit still, and we feel guilty when we are not doing anything. Today, inactivity has become the ultimate sin.

You might not realize it, but boredom stimulates a form of anxiety and stress. It evokes an emotional state that creates frustration and feeds procrastination.

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It’s a desire to be ‘doing something’ or to be ‘entertained’ – it’s a desire for sensory stimulation. What it boils down to is a lack of focus.

If you think about those times when you’re bored, it’s usually because you did not know what to do. So, indecision also plays a big part.

When we are focused on what’s important to us and what we want to achieve, it’s pretty hard to be bored. So, one answer to boredom is to become focused on what you want.

Sometimes It’s Good to Be Bored

If boredom is a desire for sensory stimulation – then what’s the opposite of that? To be content with no stimulation – in other words – to enjoy stillness.

Sometimes, it’s not boredom itself that causes the frustration but the resistance to doing nothing.

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Think about it. What would happen if you were to ‘let go’ of the desire to be entertained? You wouldn’t be bored anymore, and you will feel more relaxed!

In my experience, it’s often the most obvious, simplistic solutions that are the most powerful in life. So, when you’re bored, the easiest way to combat this is to enjoy it.

It may sound weird but think of ‘boredom’ as a form of ‘relaxation’. It’s a break from the constant stimulation that 21st-century living provides – constant TVs, mobile phones, radios, internet, emails, phone calls, etc.

Who knows, maybe ‘boredom’ is actually good for us?

Next time you’re ‘feeling bored’ instead of feeding the frustration by frantically looking for something to do, maybe you can sit back, relax, and savor the feeling of having nothing to do.

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In this article, I’ll share with you my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom.

3-Step Strategy to Overcome Boredom

1. Get Focused

Instead of chasing sensory stimulation at random, focus on what’s really important to you. Focusing on something important helps prevent boredom because it forces you to utilize your time productively.

You should ask yourself: what would make good use of your time? What could you be doing that would contribute to your major goals in life?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Spend some time in quiet contemplation considering what’s important to you.
  • Start that creative project you’ve been talking about for the last few weeks.
  • Brainstorm: think of some ideas for new innovative products or businesses.

2. Kill Procrastination

Boredom is useful in some ways because it gives you the energy and time to do things. It is only a problem if you let it. But if you use it to motivate yourself to be productive, then you can more easily overcome boredom.

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So, the next time you’re bored, why not put this good energy to use by ticking off those things that you have been meaning to get done but have been too busy to finish? This also presents a great time for you to clear your to-do list.

Here are some ideas:

  • Do some exercise.
  • Read a book.
  • Learn something new.
  • Call a friend.
  • Get creative (draw, paint, sculpt, create music, write).
  • Do a spring cleaning.
  • Wash the car.
  • Renovate the house.
  • Re-arrange the furniture.
  • Write your shopping list.
  • Water the plants.
  • Walk the dog.
  • Sort out your mail & email.
  • De-clutter (clear out that wardrobe).

3. Enjoy Boredom

If none of the above solutions work, then you can try a different approach. Don’t give in to boredom and instead choose to enjoy it. This doesn’t mean allowing yourself to waste your time being bored. Instead, think of it as your time to relax and re-energize, which will help you be more productive the next time you work.

Contrary to popular belief, we don’t need to be constantly doing things to be productive. In fact, research has shown that people are more productive when they take periods of rest to recharge.[1] Taking breaks once in a while helps boost your performance and can help make you feel more motivated.

So, take some time to relax. You never know, you might even like it.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to overcome boredom may be difficult at the beginning, but it can be easier if you make use of some techniques. You can start with my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom and work your way from there. So, ready your mind and make use of these tips, and you will be overcoming boredom in no time.

More Tips on Overcoming Boredom

Featured photo credit: Johnny Cohen via unsplash.com

Reference

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