SPICE UP YOUR NEXT SEAFOOD DISH!
The data is conclusive. Eating spicy food is not just delicious and interesting. It is also great for your mental and physical well-being. Just google the phrase “health benefits of eating spicy food” and you’ll quickly see dozens of articles making claims about the value of adding a little heat to your diet. Like everything else on the internet, there are some wild and unsubstantiated claims, but here are a few that I have been able to validate through reasonably credible sources.
· You will live longer – Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences published a study that showed that people who ate spicy foods almost every day were 14% less likely to die of any natural cause than their non-spice consuming counterparts of similar age and weight. They found particularly that the instance of cancer and respiratory diseases were reduced. This study covered a 7 year time period and included almost 500,000 people.
· You will be happier – Eating a spicy meal that is near the top of your comfort level for spice causes a small spike in serotonin and adrenalin. This is probably caused by the little bit of subconscious fear and the mild pain of eating a hot pepper. These chemicals improve your mood and increase your energy level, causing you to ride a slight but notable natural high long after the heat is gone from your tongue. This is similar to the endorphin high that people perceive after getting a tattoo.
· You may lose weight – Spicy food delivers a triple whammy of weight control help. First, the spiciness causes you to eat slower, which helps you to eat less. According to this article in SF Gate, http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-spicy-food-7569.html, a Canadian study shows that men who ate a spicy appetizer consumed on average 200 less calories than those who didn’t. Second, capsaicin, the compound that makes peppers hot, has been demonstrated to improve your metabolism by up to 8% for 20 minutes after your meal. Third, spice makes people more satisfied with their meal even with reduced fat, salt, or sugar. Spicing up a diet of bland vegetables or lean protein can make it palatable without making it unhealthy.
· You will have a healthier heart – capsaicin is shown to reduce the bad effects of LDL cholesterol and reduce inflammation which reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
In addition, chilis, like other brightly colored fruits and vegetables, are full of vitamins and minerals. They are a great addition to just about any healthy diet. Plus, they taste great.
I have always found that chilis make adventurous foods feel safer. For example, when I first tried sushi, I was a little bit uncomfortable and I found that it was much easier to imagine eating the spicy options. I think the logic was that any bad flavors would be overwhelmed by the spicy flavors that I knew I would like. I’ve since branched out to eating many varieties of sushi and not all of them are spicy, but I still like a sinus clearing dose of wasabi with most of them.
There are many fun options when it comes to spicing up your seafood. You can try a fish or shellfish curry. Here’s my take on that option:
The chilis in this recipe are optional, but for this challenge, fire it up with one or more Thai chilis.
You can try a recipe that has a little bit of heat in the form of a bold sauce. Here is one that I make often. This sauce can go on just about any fish:
Or you can go with a blackened fish taco. This one give you three places to fit the spice in. You can either kick up the cayenne on the blackening spice, or you can spice up the slaw. Or, instead, you can light up the spicy crema. Either way, this one can be as hot as you want it:
Whatever you do, get some heat into your life. Do it as often as possible to improve your food enjoyment and your health.