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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 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

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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