Some people gravitate naturally to spicy foods--and if you're not one of them, you might just want to start adding a few drops of hot sauce on your plate at mealtimes. Capsaicin, the substance found in chili peppers, is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, helping people live longer and lowering their cancer risk, according to studies.
And it's just not the capsaicin that's beneficial. Chili peppers, the main ingredient in hot sauces, has a wealth of health perks. Crushed or cooked peppers can reduce the bad fats in your blood (triglycerides and cholesterol) and protect your heart. They can give your immune system a boost, thanks to all the beta-carotene they contain. They even trigger cell suicide in rapidly mutating cells, which is why many scientists think they have cancer-fighting properties.
Plus, eating a spicy meal can rev up your metabolism, and continue its calorie burning for 20 minutes after you've finished. For best effects, pair the condiment (or chilis) with fatty foods. Capsaicin molecules dissolve faster in fat, so the antioxidants can get in your body more speedily.
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