Being Malaysian, I’m confident that we can all pretty much handle spicy food. However, there will always be one crazy friend at the dining table that go ‘I need more chilli, this isn’t spicy enough’ while the rest are hissing and drooling in spite. To be honest though, I’m that friend. No shame in it, just pure pride that I can withstand the heat that apparently burns everyone else’s palettes.
Growing up with a family that worships chilli peppers, I was trained from a young age to suck it up and eat, jut like how the saying goes, ‘beggars can’t be choosers’. After all those years of toilet breaks in between and popping ice cubes in my mouth after I’m done with mom’s spicy dishes, it all paid off when my tolerance built up. Eating Jalapeno is just like a walk in the park for me now (I think lah!).
For all you non-spicy food lovers, I might just have the right words to convince you why consuming all those burning hot and spicy dishes is actually a great idea! For beginners, make sure you have a gallon of water (or milk!) while going through this list!
1. Losing Weight
If this doesn’t convince you, let me be of help. Capsaicin causes the burning sensation you get from hot food – a thermogenic substance – which is helpful in causing the body temperature to rise, temporarily boosting metabolism and revving its ability to burn calories. According to a study done in 2009 from a journal called Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that consuming capsaicin led subjects to feel less hungry and take in fewer calories. This significantly reduced abdominal fat tissue levels and more energy intake. The experiment involved 27 healthy volunteers.
2. Be cancer free
This is scientifically proven. No joke. According to the American Association for Cancer Research, capsaicin has the ability to kill some cancer and leukemic cells. One particular spice, turmeric, found in curry powder and some mustards, may slow the spread of cancer and growth of tumours. This explains why people who are living in Mexico and India that practises spicy diet consumption, tend to have lower rates of some cancers than those eating a bland Western diet. Good news is, we Malaysians share the same advantages because we are spicy eaters too! Glorious sambals, curry, and chilli pan mee all day, err day.
3. Makes the heart grow fonder
Heart diseases have claimed many innocent lives among men and women, but spicing up your food may help reduce your risk of developing any. Chilli peppers can reduce the damaging effect of bad cholesterol, while capsaicin fights inflammation that pertains to the heart issues. Of course, for consistent heart health, skip greasy foods and add in more peppers or hot spices to your favourite dish, and ensure you stick to lean proteins like chicken breast or fish.
4. Live longer
Mere mortals will glare with envy to all chilli eaters: If the aforementioned perks aren’t persuasive enough, consider this benefit: Eating spicy foods may help lengthen your life. Though it does not guarantee eternal life (what does?), it can help increase a few good years to your lifespan. With its benefits of cancelling cancer and heart diseases, you’ll definitely live a healthier, happier life with your loved ones.
With all these advantages of eating spicy food, you might want to seriously consider sprinkling dried chilli flakes on your pizza, freshly-sliced bell peppers (with caution) on your pasta, chopped cili padi on your rice or vegetables for that kick of flavour. Trust the expert (ME!), and no one else!