I like to think I am connoisseur of all things spicy. I put hot sauce on everything, incorporate fresh hot peppers into my everyday meals and generally just love to work up a sweat while eating. Sounds crazy, right? But did you know there are some major health benefits from adding a bit of spice to your life?

Not only do spicy foods add flavour to bland meals, adding some jalapenos or crushed chilies to your dishes can speed up your metabolism, fight inflammation, lower your blood pressure and actually level out your moods. Intrigued? Read on.

Benefits of Spicy Foods

A few of the benefits of incorporating spicy foods into your diet include:

  • Healthier Hearts: Chili peppers can reduce the the damaging effects of bad cholesterol and also fight inflammation, which is a risk factor for heart issues. Research has shown that cultures who’s diets consist of mainly spicy foods, tend to have lowers incidences of heart attack.
  • Weight Loss:  I love feeling that flush creep over my cheeks and that sweat start to form when I’m digging into a spicy dish. Capsaicin, the main compound found in chilies, is producing a thermogenic effect and I’m actually burning calories as it increases my metabolism.
  • Lower your Blood Pressure: The heat of a pepper is going to increase the blood flow throughout your body while vitamins A and C strengthen the heart’s muscle walls. This means you’re strengthening your cardiovascular system.
  • Feel Good: Spicy Foods produce serotonin and we want serotonin, the feel-good hormone.

How to use Spice

As I said, I put hot sauce on everything; I’ve even made my own! (Recipe coming soon). If you are going to use hot sauce, just pay attention to the ingredients list and the sugar content. Check out this blog if you’re unsure of the sneaky names sugar is hiding behind.

I love fresh jalapenos, chilies and hot peppers. You can chop up a jalapeno and add it to a salad as a “naked burrito”, or any type of hot pepper to your soups to kick it up a notch.

Favourite Recipes with Spice

If you can’t buy fresh hot peppers, try adding cayenne to a dish like this!

Cheese chips are a favourite snack of mine and I just started kicking them up a notch with some fresh jalapeno slices. Cut some organic cheese into squares, and a slice of jalapeno on top and bake in the oven until the cheese turns golden.