By: Nikki Nies
I still am amazed how my taste buds have changed within the last year. When my parents moved to GA, I was fortunate enough that family friends took me in to live with them for the rest of my undergraduate program. Not only did they give me a roof over my head, but they gave me some more flavor.
Living with them, I was introduced to flavors that I never really ate. I’ve always shied away from spicy foods because I hadn’t been exposed to them. WIth my dad’s GERD, my mother didn’t cook with spicy flavors. However, with continuous exposure to spicier dishes in my new home, I developed an affinity for spicy flavors. A couple weeks ago, I opted for spicy Italian sausage at the grocery store. I would’ve never chosen that over mild a year ago.
I’m glad my taste has changed. I’ve started to appreciate a wider range of foods. The active ingredient that gives foods the extra kick is capsaicin–found in everyday foods such as jalapenos, cayenne pepper and red chili peppers.
- Can temporarily boost metabolism up to 8%
- Can help you feel more “satisfied” with meal–study showed that those that chose spicier dishes consumed 200 fewer calories than those who didn’t have hot sauce on plate
- May lower bad cholesterol
- Capsaicin blocks a gene that narrows the arteries–> increasing blood flow in the vessels.
- Turmeric, which is a spice used in Indian cuisine, contains the active antioxidant curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to have some anti-cancer effects
- Can help one attain their recommended intake of vitamin C, which can decrease risk of cancer, heart disease the common cold
- May fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer!
- Can reduce acne
- Increases serotonin in one’s brain–improves mood
If you’d like to spice up your life, a gradual introduction of these flavors is key. Add a dab of salsa on your eggs in the morning or a dab of chili paste in your next dish of pasta. You may even like it!