Taken from Australia Lifestyle and Fitness.
Add some hot chilies to your shopping list- recent studies show that spicy foods can help you to burn more calories.
The weight loss benefits of hot peppers have long been speculated, and now scientific research is backing it up. Hot spices increase your body temperature, meaning you burn extra calories and get a swift metabolism boost just from eating. This is because of the capsaicin contained in spicy peppers, which gives you that hot, powerful flavor.
So make your meal a little more exotic- Mexican, Thai, Indian and Chinese food do spicy quite nicely. Add that spicy taste and flavor and give your weight loss plan a little kick!
Why it works
Capsaicin is what causes that burning feeling in your mouth when you eat spicy food. That burning feeling, recent studies have suggested, cause the pain receptors in your mouth to send messages to the brain for fast relief. The brain reacts by pumping adrenaline through the body and speeding up the heart rate, which causes sweating and increased calorie burn.
The UCLA Centre for Human Nutrition recently conducted a study that demonstrated the potential health and weight loss benefits of hot chilies. 34 people trying to lose weight were put on a low-calorie liquid diet for 28 days, with half taking a placebo supplement, and half taking one of two doses of DCT or dihydrocapsiate, which simulates the effects of capsaicin.
The results showed that the participants taking the highest level of DCT had the highest energy expenditure- burning almost double the amount of calories than those taking no DCT. They also showed significantly greater rates of fat-burning than the control group.
The amount of capsaicin that you consume with each pepper really does depend on the pepper, and the hotter the pepper that you are consuming, the higher the levels will be. But starting to include more jalapenos, habaneros, serranos and chili peppers in your diet plan can have an impact on your weight loss.
Other health benefits
Hot peppers are also full of antioxidants, and are good sources of many essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, potassium and manganese. So adding more hot peppers to your diet not only boosts your metabolism, but can improve your overall health. Capsaicin has excellent anti-inflammatory properties, and has been used to treat many chronic health conditions, as well as migraines, arthritis and muscle pain. The average hot pepper also contains about 3 grams of fiber, which can help make you feel fuller, so you eat less.
Ways to enjoy hot peppers
One way to add more hot peppers into your diet is to crush them- or buy them crushed in flakes- and sprinkle them onto your food. You can add them to almost any meal, giving it an extra flavor hit as well as helping your metabolism. Some good ideas are adding them to your pasta sauce, or a stir-fry, or a casserole. Or, explore more exotic foods. Indian, Mexican, Thai and Chinese cuisines are full of delicious hot spices, and there are lots of healthy varieties.