Aside from growing health concerns related to obesity, many Americans worry about the winter season weight gain which they struggle to lose before the summer season. Some resort to drastic measures like obesity surgeries without having the ability to maintain weight loss with a healthy lifestyle. And many others have tried the so-called “magical ingredients” of our grandmothers to jump-start more rapid weight loss. One of these magical ingredients is the red pepper or hot chili pepper. But, do you really know the story behind it?
Herbs and spices in diet were previously used for their potential health benefits. They can be used as substitutes to other ingredients such as table salt, table sugar, and saturated fatty acids — and many are used to increase flavor and taste. In addition, they also seem to have many nutritional and health benefits, particularly related to weight.
In a prospective cohort study done in China, men and women aged 30 to 79 years were tested for a possible relationship between the regular consumption of spicy foods in their meals and deaths due to specific chronic conditions such as diabetes and coronary Heart Diseases (CHD).
The study showed that excess abdominal fat may shrink with long-term consumption of spicy foods. This loss of fat can subsequently decrease your risk of having diabetes and cardio-vascular disease. Choosing spicy foods containing Capsaicin/capsaicinoids (CAPs), which happens to be the active ingredient in chili peppers, may supplement these benefits as CAPS have the ability to increase your body’s heat production and trigger fat loss. They also help you feel fuller, so you may decrease your food intake as a result, contributing to further weight loss.
The question remains about the amount to be consumed daily to achieve optimal weight loss. For most, it doesn’t have to be a large amount; just one teaspoon of chili pepper can make your body burn significant fat, believe it or not! However, you should pay attention to a certain “plateau effect” that your body may experience after long-term, continuous pepper consumption. Thus, you may want to “trick” your body, and consume it on different times of the day and at certain times when your body burns the most fat (which is usually early morning or right after exercise). This, along with a constant and regular amount of physical activity, can support you in achieving your ideal body weight!