Now that this hot weather is really set in, what can we do to help us deal with it a little better and help us cool down?
We all may feel the urge to reach for something cool to eat, but you will benefit much more by eating something Chilli based rather than a frozen yoghurt or ice cream. You would be doing yourself a massive favour!
People have long combatted the hot weather by eating spicy food. While it may initially seem a tad counterproductive to indulge in some hot sauce or salsa while baking in the sun, but I can promise there is amazingly sound evidence to suggest it will help you cool down.
What’s the secret? SWEAT!
Hot Chillis like Scotch Bonnet, Red Birds Eye, Naga, Habanero or even more milder varieties such as Jalapeno & Cayenne get their heat from the chemical Capsaicin which acts as an irritant on humans. When you indulge in foods containing Capsaicin, it triggers a neural responses from your body. Yale professor Barry Green explained this in much more detail in the Scientific American. The Spice from these foods excite the receptors in the skin that normally respond to heat. Our nervous system reacts to whatever the sensory system tells it is happening. Meaning that the pathway of activity from both the pain and warm nerve fibres trigger sensations of physical reactions of heat, including vasodilation, sweating, and flushing.
The “burn” you feel in your mouth from eating spicy food can be followed by a similar warming sensation across the rest of your body, causing you to sweat as you eat. Sweating is one of the primary methods the human body has to regulate its temperature. Specifically, it’s the evaporation of sweat that removes heat from your body. So as long as you stay hydrated while eating spicy food, the perspiration that comes from enjoying culinary delights with a kick of heat, will force your body to cool itself much more quickly and more efficiently.
Now knowing you can cool yourself by eating spicy foods, its not that handy if you don’t like or in some instances even handle the CHILLI! Don’t worry though! If your mealtime has become a little stale, or boring, even inspirationally poor? As they say, it’s never too late! You can turn and begin to enjoy the burn!
Reacting to CHILLI is controlled by a neurotransmitter called Substance-P…P for Pain no less! In a relatively subtle moves, substance P depletes slowly and takes time, sometimes days sometime weeks to replenish, meaning eating CHILLI often, your literally building up a tolerance for hotter and hotter foods as your ability to detect their presence goes down while gaining numerous health associated benefits.
There are not any special manoeuvres you can do to tolerate CHILLI based foods other than putting in some practice, then some more practice. The more you practice, the better you become!
Begin with very small doses of CHILLI added to your food on quite a regular basis. Then, work your way up to hotter dishes and feel the benefits.
Within a couple of weeks you could be enjoying all the benefits explained, as well as loving the tastes and flavours of the numerous hot, hotter and extreme heats of CHILLI!
Consider This! Adding more spice to your diet.
Researchers found a 13% decrease in the total mortality rate of people who consumed chilli peppers. This is just one study on the subject with extremely warming results…No pun intended!
Scientists from The Larner College of Medicine in the United States examined data from roughly 16,000 Americans who were tracked & measured for over 20 years. Mortality rates for people who ate chili peppers was 21.6%. This was in comparison to the 33.6% rate of mortality among those who didn’t. The difference in numbers is largely because of a decrease in deaths due to heart disease and stroke in the group consuming the hot chilli pepper.
How specifically do chili peppers help decrease mortality? The main component of chili peppers called Capsaicin could well be the reason.
Although the mechanism by which peppers could delay mortality is far from certain. TRP channels, which are the primary receptors for agents such as Capsaicin, the main component in chilli, maybe responsible for the observed relationship said Professor of Medicine Benjamin Littenberg!
Some further research is necessary but scientists propose some explanations of how capsaicin could be making such a difference. This component could be positively affecting cellular and molecular mechanisms which are linked to obesity and control coronary blood flow. In particular, capsaicin could be fighting high cholesterol, help metabolize fat breakdown, reducing likelihood of diabetes and stopping tumours. It could also have antimicrobial qualities, positively affecting the microbiota of the gut.
The scientists think their work might result in people needing to eat more spicy food!
Because the study adds to the generalisation of previous findings, chilli pepper or even spicy food may become a dietary recommendation fuelling further research in the form of clinical trials.
If you weren't excited about chilli prior to this point, maybe you are now?
Coconut Oil as we know is very special! It contains a unique combination of fatty acids with powerful effects on metabolism. Several studies show that just by adding coconut oil to your diet, you can lose fat, especially the “dangerous” fat in the abdominal cavity. Especially after over indulging this festive season!
Coconut Oil Can Reduce Appetite, Making You Eat Less Without Trying
“Weight loss is all about calories in, calories out.”
Even though I think this is a drastic oversimplification, it is mostly true.
If your body expends more energy (calories) than it takes in, then you will lose fat. Simple!
Humans are very capable of remaining lean and healthy in their natural environment. The obesity epidemic didn’t start until around 1980 and we didn’t even know what a calorie was back in the day. A substantial amount of reduction in a given day has a huge effect on the body.
Anything that reduces our appetite can make us take in fewer calories is extremely beneficial.
Many studies on medium chain fatty acids show that, compared to the same amount of calories from other fats, they increase feelings of fullness and lead to an automatic reduction in calorie intake.
This may be related to the way these specific fats are metabolized. It is well known that ketone bodies (which the liver produces when you eat Coconut oil) can have a powerful appetite reducing effect.
Whatever the mechanism is, it works. In one study of healthy men, eating a high amount of MCTs caused them to automatically eat 256 fewer calories per day
In another study of 14 healthy men, those who ate MCTs at breakfast ate significantly fewer calories at lunch
So… Coconut oil boosts fat burning (increases “calories out”) and it also reduces the appetite (reduces “calories in”).
Many many thousands of years ago, us humans stumbled on the Chilli. We have taken pleasure from adding heat from the Chilli into food. Slightly Masochistic! Well maybe we have plenty of good reasons to?
Well where do we start....Humans came into the hemisphere about 20,000 years ago. Probably coming into contact with Chilli relatively early and found that it gave them pain. On numerous occasions, Chillis have been domesticated in the West because we have found some usefulness. Medicinal as well!
The potential for both health and harm has always been a defining characteristic of The Chilli pepper, and among Scientists, Doctors and Nutritionists it remains a matter of some dispute which prevails.
A huge study that was in the British Medical Journal, showed diets filled with Chilli WAS extremely beneficial to our health.
In another well study, a team at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences tracked the health of nearly half a million participants in China for several years. They found that participants who ate spicy food a couple of times a week had a mortality rate 10% lower than those who ate spicy food less than once a week. Risk of death reduced still further for the die hard Chilli eaters who consumed spicy food six or seven days a week.
Chilli of all types were used among the sample, and those who ate fresh chillis had a lower risk of death from cancer, coronary heart disease and diabetes.
One of the authors of the study, Lu Qi - who confesses that he is very keen on spicy food - says there are likely to be many reasons for this effect.
"The data encourages people to eat more spicy food to improve health and reduce mortality risk at an early age," says Qi, a nutritionist at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, though he adds that spicy food may not be beneficial for those with digestive problems or stomach ulcers.
So be careful with the amounts you eat, especially if you are not used to them! But, you should be introducing them to your diet if you don’t already!
THE SCOVILLE HEAT SCALE FOR CHILLIS
CHILLIS are graded according to the 'Scoville scale' Check how hot certain CHILLIS are on the Scoville Heat Unit. Below are a few of the old favourites to show you that certain Chilli can be eaten while gaining the nutritional benefits and not blowing your head off.
Carolina Reaper pepper
Bhut- Jolokia , Naga(Ghost Pepper)
Red Savina Habanero
Habanero, Scotch Bonnet
Cayenne , Tabasco