* The outcomes of this diet depend on the person's individual predispositions and cannot be guaranteed in every person. We advise you to consult your doctor before you start a diet programme.
Will spicy food help you burn fats faster? The expert has a clear answer
What happens in our body when we eat spicy food?
If you have dinner with a good dose of chilli, you'll warm up, and maybe even sweat. Why? Chilli peppers contain a substance called capsaicin, which causes the “false feeling of warmth” in our bodies. “In order to remove this heat from the body, the skin and subcutaneous blood vessels expand, which can improve both energy output and fat oxidation,” explains nutritionist Jiří Skála. Hooray! It's true. Spicy food makes it easier to lose weight. Is there a catch?
Chilli helps burn fats, but also viruses and germs
Chilli peppers influence weight loss in the right direction precisely because of the capsaicin involved. “Chilli peppers have already been examined in detail scientifically, and studies have, among other things, confirmed that they have a positive effect on “fat burning, especially in people with abnormally high BMIs,” says the nutritionist; this means that chilli peppers can help people who are more overweight with weight loss. “However, for those with BMI of up to 25, fat reduction does not occur, which is rather a benefit in terms of adverse effects because capsaicin does not lead to unwanted weight loss," Jiří Skála supplements what is a surprising conclusion of the research.
What is your BMI?
Calculate it with our BMI calculator and find out how you stand.
But even slim people can benefit from chilli peppers to maintain their ideal weight. In fact, capsaicin enhances salty taste of the dish, and regular chilli eaters have no need to eat as many salty, sweet and fatty meals.
Spicy lunch and diseases have no chance
It is particularly important nowadays to be mindful of your own health and not to neglect prevention. And you can support your immunity even with spicy meals. “It has been confirmed that the substances in chilli peppers and capsaicin have a very high antioxidant effect and eating them can serve as one of the many preventative things we can do for our immune system,” advises Jiří Skála.
Interesting! A seriously medically impaired, almost deaf-blind, Radim Řehůřek, suffering from the Usher syndrome, discovered that his favourite chilli peppers were the only thing capable of relieving his troubles. Not only does he regularly drip chilli droplets of his own making into his eyes, but he managed to eat 13 peppers at once.
How much spicy food is enough?
You don't have to go on a chilli diet. So don't eat spicy food as much as the record-breaker Radim Řehůřek. In addition, the maximum daily dose is different for each person. Some people simply can't stand spicy food and others have what we call a “tin mouth”. But is there a specific limit? “It is a question and goal of further research that could establish a safe and effective daily spiciness dose. For example, the maximum daily dose of chilli peppers can range from 20 to 40g, but this is not confirmed. Anyway, one spicy meal a day won't do us any harm," says the nutritionist.
You should avoid spicy food if you are …
- a child. For young children, spicy food is totally inappropriate.
- a pregnant or breast-feeding woman. But every mother knows what is good for her and her baby.
- sensitive to spicy food. In fact, some spices can also cause allergic reactions.
What else can you use to make your food spicier to have a beneficial effect on the body?
You don't need to make your food spicier just with chilli. Turmeric, curry, ginger, garlic and even the seemingly sweet cinnamon can make it hot, too. Start your metabolism with them and take advantage of their full range of health benefits. Even ordinary pepper can be beneficial in terms of health effects. But do you use it correctly? "A lot of people use ground pepper in their cooking. But it's better to buy peppercorns because ground pepper quickly loses its aroma and even with its contents we can't be sure what's in it because it's easy to fake," says the nutritionist. Moreover, there is not only one pepper. You can choose from a variety of "colours." "The white pepper is the most pungent and the green pepper is the weakest. Black pepper has the strongest aroma. The typical spiciness is imparted by a substance called piperine, which promotes digestion but can also help fight overweight as it blocks the formation of new fat cells," adds Jiří Skála.
Did you know that even one kind of chilli pepper is called pepper? It's cayenne pepper.
A more diverse diet plan thanks to permitted seasonings. Which ones are they?
A TIP for a healthy spicy recipe
Try pumpkin spread with a pinch of chilli which you can have already from Step 3 of your diet plan. The whole family will enjoy it!
Is pumpkin not the right thing? Choose another healthy spicy recipe.
Author: Nikola Nevečeřalová
Photographs: Nikola Nevečeřalová, Iva Karlovská