A little bit of spice goes a long way when it comes to upping your fitness game. Cayenne, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon and other bold spices not only add dimension to dishes but have benefits that can’t be found in your salt shaker. Certain spices can help lower blood pressure, decrease inflammation and maybe even help you lose a little weight.
Some like it hot! If that’s you, you’re in luck. Cayenne peppers and other hotties are full of capsaicin. Research has shown consuming might boost your metabolism, decrease your appetite and help you feel full. Some studies indicate that consuming chili pepper can raise your body temperature which makes you burn extra calories. Other studies indicate that the capsaicin might trigger your body to burn a little fat.
If you can’t take the heat, don’t worry. There’s a solution for you too! Mild peppers might not have the same amount of capsaicin, but do have a compound called dihydrocapsiate, otherwise known as DCT. One study showed DCT has a metabolism boosting effect.
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Incorporate hot or milder peppers into your meals if you can. But, keep in mind that researchers note people’s bodies can build a tolerance to the heating effect of hot peppers. As such, it’s important to carry the concept of cross-training you use at the gym to stay on your toes into the kitchen. Avoid depending on only one spice.
Mix-up, your spices like you, do your workouts. In addition to cayenne, other taste bud tinglers like garlic, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cloves and black pepper have compounds in them that ward off inflammation. With less inflammation, you’ll be able to throw yourself into your workouts with fewer aches and pains.
Also, any spice that helps reduce inflammation can enhance post-workout recovery. Better recovery means you’ll be more apt to regularly hit the gym, making your efforts more fruitful and sustainable.
There are a couple of other reasons to sprinkle on the spice. When food is well-seasoned, it’s more likely you’ll forego adding extra salt to your food that can mess with your blood pressure. You might also be less inclined to reach for fatty or sugared sauces that can add extra calories to your meals.
While there might not be a magical pill that melt-off pounds, spices can pull off more than a few tricks! Use them copiously, confidently and creatively to enhance both your fitness and your food.