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Three Reasons to Add Spicy Foods to Your Diet

Update Date: Aug 02, 2014 09:16 AM EDT

Spicy foods can add a punch to any meal. For some people, that extra bite can transform flavors onto a whole different level. For others, that burn might feel like it is never going to leave. Regardless of whether or not people like spicy foods, incorporating them into a daily diet could be beneficial. Here are three reasons why people should try to eat more spicy foods:

1. Spicy Foods could Lower Tumor Risk

A recent study conducted in mice models found that a specific chemical called capsaicin found in peppers could trigger cell receptors residing in the intestinal lining. The activation of the receptors caused a reaction that reduced the mice's risk of growing tumors. The researchers had tested the chemical by feeding it to mice that were genetically altered to develop tumors. They found that capsaicin not only reduced tumors, it also extended the mice's lifespan. This study was published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

2. Spicy Foods can Improve Sex Life

Spicy foods are natural aphrodisiacs. In a 2011 review published in the journal, Food Research International, researchers found that certain spicy foods such as ginseng and saffron broth can boost people's sexual performance. Even thought this review found that spicy foods could boost libidos, the team could not determine what doses were effective and how people should consume them.

3. Spicy Foods can Help Trim the Waistline

In some recent studies, researchers have tied spicy foods to boosting weight loss. One particular study conducted by researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Center for Human Nutrition reported that peppers could trigger the body to burn more calories. In another study, researchers found that a pill made with components taken from peppers helped men and women burn more fat in comparison to participants who took a placebo. One more study conducted at Purdue University reported that people who ate less than one teaspoon of dried cayenne red pepper had reduced appetite and increased calorie burn.

Even though these studies have found correlations and not cause-and-effect relationships, overall, eating more spicy food can add health benefits.

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