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5 Heart Smart Spicy FoodsDid you know that spicy food can help you live longer? People who eat spicy food have a 14% lower mortality rate than people who don’t, and they have a much lower risk of heart disease and heart problems as they age. Spicy foods may not be the cause of your longer life, but they certainly are an addition that could prove helpful in staving off the effects of age. Here are a few of the best heart smart spicy foods for you to eat:
Sriracha and Tabasco SaucesBoth of these sauces (one from the Philippines and one from the U.S.) are high in capsaicin, the compound that makes chili peppers and hot sauces so healthy. Capsaicin helps to relax the blood vessels, reducing blood pressure and increasing the amount of blood that flows through the body. It also serves to reduce inflammation in your blood vessels, muscles, and joints, reducing pain and preventing heart disease. It even has anti-cancer properties that can help to prevent carcinogenic cells from forming and spreading. Definitely hot sauces to add to your diet!
GochujangThis chili pepper comes from Korea, and it's a highly popular addition to many Korean dishes. It has a slightly saltier flavor than most other chili peppers, which means that it adds a kick of flavor as well as spice. It's an excellent source of capsaicin, which means that it will offer the same health benefits as Tabasco and Sriracha sauces. It makes a great dip for carrots, cucumbers, and celery sticks, helping you to eat more fresh veggies!
They may have originated in India, but these little peppers have become popular around the world in no time. They are the spiciest peppers in the world, with a kick that can literally send you to the Emergency Room in pain. Most people don't cook with the peppers themselves, but they'll add a drop or two of the ghost pepper oil to their meals. It's a powerful pepper with a lot of capsaicin, offering the health benefits that make it a great addition to your diet.
HarissaThis condiment is highly popular in the Middle East and North Africa. Made from garlic, spices, olive oil, and chili peppers, it packs a nutrient punch! You get a lot of allicin (an antioxidant) and sulfur from the garlic, oleic acid (another antioxidant) and healthy unsaturated fatty acids from the olive oil, and the high antioxidant content of the various spices. All in all, it's a brilliant addition to your meals!
AnnattoThis seed is native to Latin America, where it is used to make "achiote"-- a paste that is added to sauces and stews to add rich flavor. The intense colors of the seed prove that it has a high concentration of capsaicin and other antioxidants, which give it the flavor and the spice. It's not a VERY HOT type of chili, but it has an earthy, peppery flavor that makes it a wonderful addition to dishes.
KimchiKimchi isn't a type of spice; instead, it's a dish with spice added to it. Kimchi is pickled napa cabbage, with ginger, salt, pepper, sugar, and a bit of Gochujang chili pepper added in for a kick. It's a delicious food that goes well with any type of Asian dish, but the fact that it's a fermented food makes it one of the healthiest items on this list. Not only does it pack a capsaicin punch from the chili, but it delivers a lot of bacteria to keep your intestines working well. It's great for both your digestive and immune systems.