Spicy food is not just zingy, it's good for health too

It has been roughly 20 years working with the forest dwellers and during this period I have hardly witnessed any forest dweller afflicted with heart ailments. When I asked them the secret behind this, they said they eat well-spiced food to keep the heart and liver healthy

Deepak AcharyaDeepak Acharya   7 Oct 2019 4:54 AM GMT

Spicy food is not just zingy, it

Spices are used in the kitchen to rev up the dishes. Without their taste, the dishes lack in flavor. In fact, the spices also provide medicinal benefits besides adding zest to the food and help us in improving our health.

Several households use spices as numerous herbal remedies following the traditional Indian medicinal wisdom. Tribal Indians take it a step ahead by using spices to cure even several life-threatening ailments.

Spices when added to the dishes, not only improve the taste but are also profoundly effective towards betterment of the health. Due to their heat, however, people hesitate in using them more.

Effective in blood purification

Often one learns from the elders that one must consume spicy food at least once a week or two. From my childhood I had a sweet tooth, I avoided spicy food always. My father always used to tell me to eat spice so that my stomach will be free of parasites and my blood shall be purified.

Slowly awareness dawned on me and from my early days as a research scholar in the late 1990s till present age, I finally understood one thing that the stomach should also be exposed to spicy palate occasionally.

It has been roughly 20 years working with the forest dwellers and during this period I have hardly witnessed any forest dweller afflicted with heart ailments. Finally, I relented and asked a tribal elder as to why their food is so spicy.

To keep the heart and liver strong

Pat replied the elder that one should eat well spiced food to keep the heart and liver healthy. Such is the opinion of the rural tradition moving further to a 2014 research report published in Nutritional Journal which talked of an experiment wherein 14 healthy volunteer, aged about 45 were given food in form of curry, packed with spices such as cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, bay leaf, clove, black pepper, ginger and chilies; 14 other volunteers were given food without spice which consisted of boiled rice (200gms) and vegetables.

Volunteers' blood vessels were closely observed before and after the intake of curry. It was observed that the volunteers who had taken curry their blood flow's rate had increased (FMD: Flow Mediated Vasodilation) while others had shown its reduced rate (decreased FMD).

Report showed that this was due to the presence of antioxidants in the spices. People who suffer from narrowing or hardening of the blood vessels or atherosclerosis must consume such food items.


Traditional wisdom is now lauded

The report findings published in the Nutritional Journal may be new to the developed nations, but spicy food has long been advocated in the Indian homes. It is certainly encouraging that people swearing by modern science too have accepted the wisdom of traditional nutritional and health practices.

Several venerated texts of Japan, Korea as well as India have upheld the benefits and uses of strong spices. Popular in Japan the recipe of curry is one such dish which comprises of several spices and is quite pungent. Even though the Japanese may tear up upon having the dish they still consume it at least once or twice every month. Japanese curry calls for spices such as clove, coriander, cumin, garlic, red chilies, black peppers besides other local spices. It is interesting to note that it was the British who popularized this recipe during Miji Era (1868-1912).

Blood pressure regularized

The new research concluded that after consuming the spicy curry, the inner lining of the volunteer's blood vessel or endothelium got relatively dilated thereby regularizing the blood pressure.

So, one is now able to see how spicy food can counter atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis or the arterial plaque doesn't happen overnight, the slow shrinking of endothelium over the period of several years results in atherosclerosis.

If the habit of eating spicy food is inculcated from the childhood the endothelium would remain dilated and would not be shrunk and the positive result of which would be evident after many years.

Do include spicy with sweet

What else now? Simply relish spicy food once a week inform of spicy curry or vegetable. Try so that the children love spices as much as sweets because, after all, it is the question of your as well as the future generations' health.

As an endnote let me ask — have you ever eaten slow roasted red whole chilies with lime juice and salt? Eat spicy a few times for better health.

Also Read: Every part of plants has medicinal purpose
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