Are you someone who enjoys spicy foods? Do you love adding hot peppers, sriracha or hot sauce to all of your meals? A lot of people say these additions give their food a kick—or some zest—that takes it to a whole new level.
Spicy foods give off a mouth burning reaction when capsaicinoids like capsaicin, chemical compounds found inside of them, trigger the temperature-sensitive pain receptors of the tongue. That’s why the burning feeling you experience while eating zesty food is similar to what you might feel if you were to touch a hot pan.
You might be surprised to learn it’s all just trickery. What you’re eating likely isn’t actually hot in temperature, it’s just your brain’s response (not actual burning).
For folks who enjoy “the burn” associated with spicy foods, there might be another benefit to consider beyond flavor. Some research has pointed toward the idea that spicy food may help you lose weight. And there’s quite a bit of research on the health benefits, too. That’s good news for people who love to spice things up.
Let’s dive in and take a look at what the research has to say about spicy food, weight loss and your health.
Does Spicy Food Help You Lose Weight?
Of course spicy foods can’t literally “burn” off the pounds. However, the research on spicy food and weight loss does seem positive. According to a meta-analysis of 20 studies, published in the journal Appetite, capsaicinoid compounds were found to support weight management. The review found that there were three main areas of potential benefit for weight management: increased energy expenditure, increased lipid oxidation and reduced appetite.
The researchers explain, “It was observed that consumption of capsaicinoids increases energy expenditure by approximately 50 kcal/day, and that this would produce clinically significant levels of weight loss in 1-2 years. It was also observed that regular consumption significantly reduced abdominal adipose tissue levels and reduced appetite and energy intake.”
While the authors did say that spicy foods are not a “magic bullet” for weight loss, they felt that it could be a healthy and beneficial part of a weight management plan.
Other Health Benefits of Spicy Food
Beyond playing a role in appetite reduction and potential weight loss, spicy foods are also healthy. For instance, according to an extensive population-based study published in BMJ, spicy foods might help you live longer. The study found that compared to those who ate spicy foods less than once a week, those who consumed spicy foods six or seven days a week showed a 14-percent relative risk reduction in total mortality.
On top of that, a trial published in PLoS One, based on data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, has also found that eating red chili peppers was associated with a 13 percent lower incidence of death from heart disease and stroke.
Fitting More Spicy Food into Your Day
With the potential weight loss and health benefits of spicy foods, you should feel good about adding some spice to your life. Eating more spicy foods can also be simple with the Nutrisystem plan. Nutrisystem has lots of spicy meals that will light up your taste buds with zesty flavors when you’re looking for a meal with a kick (Check them out below!).
We also have tons of ideas for whipping up some of your own deliciously spicy dishes at home. From buffalo turkey meatballs to spicy siracha slaw, we’ve got plenty of recipes here on The Leaf to spice things up! All of these recipes are both delicious and healthy, making it easy to fit them into your weight loss plans.
With some more spice on the menu, meals will never be boring again! And you can feel good about the health benefits of fitting some of these zesty dishes into your day. Stock up on the spicy foods from Nutrisystem below and spice up your life!
Try These Spicy and Zesty Menu Items from Nutrisystem:
Our Spicy Kung Pao Noodles are covered in a spicy soy sauce featuring the flavors of garlic, shallots, chili peppers, green onion and a sprinkle of peanuts.
Warm up with a zesty bowl of chili that’s filled with white meat chicken, hearty white beans, creamy cheddar cheese, zesty peppers and just the right blend of seasonings.
This handheld lunch is a southwest fiesta inspired by a zesty burrito. The hearty whole-wheat crust is filled with a spicy medley of brown rice, black beans, corn and melted jack cheese!
Your meatless Monday just got spicier! This hearty bowl features quinoa and lentils with a zesty medley of corn, peppers and black beans. It’s covered in our traditional mango-verde salsa and melted cheddar cheese.
Here’s another perfectly portioned, plant-based meal. Our Chockful of Veggie Chili combines rustic veggies and beans in a zesty chili sauce.
This smart and satisfying spicy meal features a corn tortilla stuffed with white meat chicken, peppers, onions and tomatoes. Topped with sour cream and melted cheddar cheese, it’s served with a side of Spanish-style brown rice cooked in seasoned tomato sauce.
This protein-packed meal is a part of our new line of premium Hearty Inspirations™ dinners. It’s a sizzling stir-fry skillet that combines a colorful medley of crisp vegetables with savory chicken pot sticker dumplings in our spicy chili ginger sauce.
Wake up your taste buds with some spice! This zesty breakfast burrito is seasoned to perfection and filled with cheesy scrambled eggs, black beans, mozzarella and bell peppers in a soft and warm wheat flour tortilla.
Spice up your snack time with our Sweet Jalapeno Crisps. These multigrain crisps are packed with zesty sweet jalapeño flavor and two grams of fiber.
This Cajun-inspired meal combines andouille chicken sausage, brown rice, red kidney beans and quinoa with peppers and onions in a deliciously tangy sauce.