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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 August 4, 2020

8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

Minimalism is a way to put a stop to the gluttony of the world around us. It’s the opposite of every advertisement we see plastered on the radio and TV. We live in a society that prides itself on the accumulation of stuff; we eat up consumerism, material possessions, clutter, debt, distractions and noise.

What we don’t seem to have is any meaning left in our world.

By adopting a minimalist lifestyle, you can throw out what you don’t need in order to focus on what you do need.

I know first hand how little we actually need to survive. I was fortunate enough to live in a van for four months while traveling throughout Australia. This experience taught me valuable lessons about what really matters and how little we really need all this stuff we surround ourselves with.

Less is more.

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Living a minimalist lifestyle is reducing.There are a few obvious benefits of minimalism such as less cleaning and stress, a more organized household and more money to be found, but there are also a few deep, life-changing benefits.

What we don’t usually realize is that when we reduce, we reduce a lot more than just stuff.

Consider just some of the benefits of living with fewer possessions:

1. Create Room for What’s Important

When we purge our junk drawers and closets we create space and peace. We lose that claustrophobic feeling and we can actually breathe again. Create the room to fill up our lives with meaning instead of stuff.

2. More Freedom

The accumulation of stuff is like an anchor, it ties us down. We are always terrified of losing all our ‘stuff’. Let it go and you will experience a freedom like never before: a freedom from greed, debt, obsession and overworking.

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3. Focus on Health and Hobbies

When you spend less time at Home Depot trying unsuccessfully to keep up with the Joneses, you create an opening to do the things you love, things that you never seem to have time for.

Everyone is always saying they don’t have enough time, but how many people really stop and look at what they are spending their time doing?

You could be enjoying a day with your kids, hitting up the gym, practicing yoga, reading a good book or traveling. Whatever it is that you love you could be doing, but instead you are stuck at Sears shopping for more stuff.

4. Less Focus on Material Possessions

All the stuff we surround ourselves with is merely a distraction, we are filling a void. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy comfort. After the initial comfort is satisfied, that’s where our obsession with money should end.

We are bombarded by the media presenting promises of happiness through materialistic measures. It’s no wonder we struggle everyday. Resist those urges. It’s an empty path, it won’t make you happy.

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It’s hard not to get roped into the consumerism trap. I need constant reminders that it’s a false sense of happiness. I enjoy stuff, but I also recognize that I don’t need it.

5. More Peace of Mind

When we cling onto material possessions we create stress because we are always afraid of losing these things. By simplifying your life you can lose your attachment to these things and ultimately create a calm, peaceful mind.

The less things you have to worry about, the more peace you have, and it’s as simple as that.

6. More Happiness

When de-cluttering your life, happiness naturally comes because you gravitate towards the things that matter most. You see clearly the false promises in all the clutter, it’s like a broken shield against life’s true essence.

You will also find happiness in being more efficient, you will find concentration by having refocused your priorities, you will find joy by enjoying slowing down.

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7. Less Fear of Failure

When you look at Buddhist monks, they have no fear, and they have no fear because they don’t have anything to lose.

In whatever you wish to pursue doing you can excel, if you aren’t plagued with the fear of losing all your worldly possessions. Obviously you need to take the appropriate steps to put a roof over your head, but also know that you have little to fear except fear itself.

8. More Confidence

The entire minimalist lifestyle promotes individuality and self reliance. This will make you more confident in your pursuit of happiness.

What’s Next? Go Minimalism.

If you’re ready to start living a minimalist lifestyle, these articles can help you to kickstart:

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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