Get your metabolism all fired up – eat chilies
Most developed countries across the world share one common health challenge – obesity. With the number of people who are overweight or clinically obese steadily rising many governments are helping their citizens address this problem. In the United States for instance, the National Institute of Health, an off-shoot of central government, has recently launched a new online calculator tool designed to support people on weight loss programs. Believed to be one of the most scientifically accurate devices so far, it will no doubt prove extremely beneficial to those committed to losing weight in a healthy, safe manner. Yet even the most developed tools can only assist in the process as when it comes to effective weight reduction, you really are what you eat. Now it seems the humble chili could be something of a secret weapon. Widely recognized as a significant metabolism booster, the little chili can make a big difference to those aiming to lose weight. Here we take a closer look at how chilies could help shift some serious pounds and also explore some added health benefits associated with eating chilies.
Capsaicin – the game changing ingredient
Chilies are by their very nature fiery foods, but there is one particular ingredient in their makeup which creates this effect – capsaicin. According to researchers the capsaicin not only heats up the taste of the chili but also melts away the body’s fat. A recent study conducted by the University of Wyoming found that capsaicin acts as a stimulant in terms of prompting the body to burn energy. As the body does this, heat is created through a process called thermogenesis and in turn calories are burnt off. The clever old capsaicin sends signals to one particular receptor in the body called potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) channel protein. This is a very important receptor because it suppresses obesity by transforming ‘bad’ white fat cells into ‘good’ brown fat cells. This effect could revolutionize the approach to weight loss as well as offering hope to those suffering with associated conditions such as type 2 Diabetes.
Chilies – the appetite suppressant
As well as enhancing the body’s fat burning processes, it seems that chilies can also make us want to eat less. This is a real bonus feature for those who are trying to cut down their food intake in a safe and managed way. Believed to diminish feelings of hunger, chilies can reduce the potential for snacking – a danger zone for most slimmers. They can also make the body feel fuller for longer, thereby achieving an overall reduction in the amount of food being consumed. Nutritionists at Purdue University found that even a small amount of chili added to meals could significantly slash appetite particularly for people who didn’t normally eat spicy foods.
Chilies – fringe benefits
Losing weight may be at the top of many people’s lists, after all over two-thirds of Americans alone are believed to be overweight or obese – but even those who are already trim and toned can enjoy the health benefits associated with eating chilies. Capsaicin’s fiery properties not only help burn fat – they can also be a powerful weapon in treating inflammatory conditions. A robust inhibitor of substance P, which is a neuropeptide linked with inflammatory conditions, chilies can prove beneficial in the treatment of diseases such as arthritis, neuropathy and psoriasis. The capsaicin delivers a double whammy effect – not only addressing the inflammation but also acting as a potent pain reliever.
Chilies are also an attractive proposition to anyone experiencing high cholesterol levels. As well as contributing to a reduction in these levels, chilies have also been found to help the body dissolve a naturally occurring chemical called fibrin – a substance central to the formation of dangerous blood clots. Digestive health too can be improved through the consumption of chilies. Often badly maligned as the cause of stomach ulcers, chilies have in fact the opposite effect. Chilies actually help prevent ulcers as they bump off any bacteria ingested and stimulate the cells which protect the stomach walls.
Eating chilies also facilitates a proactive approach to protecting health and wellbeing. As well as helping treat the conditions we have covered (and many more) chilies boost immunity and thus reduce the likelihood of getting sick in the first place. Containing a powerful combination of vitamin C and vitamin A, chilies promote healthy mucus membranes lining our lungs, urinary tract and nasal passages. These membranes protect the body from potential invading pathogens and so boosting their condition provides a powerful form of defense for the body.
A Chinese proverb tells us,
“The more you eat, the less flavor; the less you eat, the more flavor.”
Sounds like the author may have been eating chilies!
This is an article by Helen Fields