Is your weekly curry actually good for you?
Do you feel guilty after you’ve wolfed down a curry from the local takeaway? The good news is that you no longer need to feel remorse, as research has revealed that spicy dishes are essential for a healthy heart.
The Daily Mail reports that if you occasionally like to indulge in Indian, Thai or Mexican food, you could actually be doing your overall health a favour. Not only is spicy food delicious – it also lowers your blood pressure and reduces cholesterol.
According to researchers, the compounds that give cayennes, jalapenos and various other chilli peppers their heat and spiciness can help to protect your heart from heart disease and can give your immune system a considerable boost. They can also help raise your metabolism, which is good news if you’re trying to lose weight – so long as you don’t completely overindulge.
The research comes from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where researchers focussed on these things known as ‘capsaicinoids.’ The capsaicinoids are basically the part of the chilli that causes us to feel the ‘kick,’
“Our research has reinforced and expanded knowledge about how these substances in chilies work in improving heart health,” said Dr Zhen-Yu Chen.
“We now have a clearer and more detailed portrait of their innermost effects on genes and other mechanisms that influence cholesterol and the health of blood vessels. It is among the first research to provide that information,” he added.
The study revealed that spicy substances helped to lower the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol within the body by reducing the gathering of cholesterol and actually helping it to be broken down and disposed of.
Hot foods also managed to block a gene that makes arteries contract and block the flow of blood to heart and other organs within the body.
“We concluded that capsaicinoids were beneficial in improving a range of factors related to heart and blood vessel health,” said Dr Chen.
“But we certainly do not recommend that people start consuming chilies to an excess. A good diet is a matter of balance. And remember, chilies are no substitute for the prescription medications proven to be beneficial,” he warned.
So there you have it. Your weekly Indian takeaway could be better for you than you think. Great news if you’re a fan of the humble curry.