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eat-spicy-foods-for-healthSpicy foods can fight heart disease!

Yes, that's right.  When most of us strive to keep our hearts healthy, we think of working out at the gym enough to break a good sweat.  But the American Chemical Society has recently revealed that eating spicy foods and thereby sweating at the table can help prevent heart disease as well. 


Our Chinese scientist friends studied the chemicals that give jalapenos, chili peppers and cayenne peppers their "kick," called capsaicinoids on hamsters.  This is where we wonder, do hamsters sweat?  The poor little furry creatures were put on diets containing high cholesterol.  One group of our furry friends were hit with the spicy stuff, while the other group was not.  Here is what scientists found.

Spicy Foods and Heart Disease Health Study

The little fur balls that nibbled on the spicy foods (then downed a glass of milk) reduced their cholesterol compared to the hamsters that ate spice-less foods.  And the capsaicinoid compound also blocked the gene that is known to be responsible for causing the arteries to reduce in size and instead relaxing the muscles so that blood flow would be more efficient.

Benefits of Spicy Foods

Previous studies have shown that spicy foods can additionally alleviate the pain associated with psoriasis and arthritis.  But we have to wonder what the trade-off is for arthritic people with reflux.  While the study is encouraging, even fascinating, we are warned not to take on too much spice at the supper table.  Eating too much spicy foods forces the stomach to release less digestive acid and can cause inflammation of the tissues.  And understandably, ulcers and reflux worsen.  People that struggle with reflux and ulcers need to be diligent in limiting spice ingestion.

Mild Spices to Fight Heart Disease

There are ways to still derive the benefits of the capsaicinoid compound in spicy foods, by perhaps, picking something a bit less spicy that still has the compound.  There are milder foods available, such as sweet bell peppers, Spanish pimentos and cherry peppers.  All of the aforementioned also contain a bit of cinnamon and oregano, both healthy spices to eat.  Other more mild spices are turmeric and ginger, and should be regularly added to your diet to boost heart health.Now those of us who love spicy food do not need to be thinking that we can shun exercise and eat spices to keep our hearts healthy.  Technology has enabled us to move less, causing the problem of heart disease in the first place. 

Living a healthy life is all about balance.  Exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, have some sex and spend quality time with family.  And still eat those spices in moderation!  I am sure those hamsters who had to "spice" up their diets will feel relieved that their sweat-filled efforts were not in vain.

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