How Spicy Food Improves Health
Ayurveda: Life Knowledge
For thousands of years, Ayurvedic medicine has influenced cuisine in India. Ayurveda in Sanskrit translates to "life knowledge". Indian cuisine uses an abundant amount of spices to enhance the flavor of foods while adding nutrition and health benefits. Western science is now discovering what India has known for centuries; that spices can promote good health.
The Mayo Clinic recommends including allspice, cloves, cinnamon, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, oregano, rosemary, saffron, sage, thyme and turmeric in the diet. The Mayo Clinic has evaluated scientific studies that suggest that these spices have antioxidant qualities that can help prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimers.
The Mayo Clinic also reviewed scientific studies that revealed that cinnamon, fenugreek and turmeric might be beneficial for people with diabetes because of the potential these spices have to affect glucose levels. A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center showed that cinnamon reduced blood sugar levels in diabetes patients.
Like Hot Food?
Spicy peppers have been found to have anti-cancer properties. A study at Notingham University found that capsaicin, an active compound in hot peppers, attacks and destroys cancer cells. Capsaicin is the component in hot peppers that give them their spicy taste. Research conducted at Notingham University concluded that capsaicin from hot peppers, shrunk malignant pancreatic tumors.
Pancreatic cancer has proven a difficult cancer to treat using western medicine, which makes the findings of capsaicin even more exciting. The capsaicin attacked and destroyed cancer cells, while leaving normal healthy cells untouched. The ability for capsaicin to distinguish between cancer cells and normal healthy cells is a valuable benefit in the treatment of cancer. More scientific research is being conducted to try and determine the full cancer fighting abilities of capsaicin.
Spices for Weight Loss
The use of spices in foods can be a beneficial addition in weight loss diets and low sodium diets. Spices can replace the use of salt in recipes without sacrificing taste. Spices impart flavors to even the blandest of foods. Spices can also be used to replace unhealthy fats. For example, vegetables that are cooked with spices do not need the addition of butter to add flavor.
Spice up your recipes to give your food a health promoting and flavorful boost. Centuries of ayurveda and emerging scientific studies agree – spices are a beneficial addition to the diet.