The eye popping zesty flavor that certain peppers add to a meal or light snack have the power to knock your socks off. Spicy food is pleasure and pain to the palate. That’s the aspect I love most about it. I can’t speak for others, but I will speak for myself. There’s a small bottle of Tabasco sauce in my bag, and yes I tend to carry it everywhere I go. Like many of my culinary favorites, my love and appreciation for the spices of life was a gradual thing. I would raise the spice level a notch or two every so often from early childhood until now.
A few months back, I went to a seafood restaurant right on the water in NYC and ordered a tasty batch of oysters. I was fresh out of tabasco and so I asked the waiter if they had any pepper sauce, surprisingly he said no. But, like me he carried his trusty bottle in his backpack and kindly allowed me use of it. He made an attempt to warn me , but I foolishly paid him no attention, as I love referring to myself as the hot sauce queen. I generously doused each oyster with this mysterious chili sauce and without a second thought, dug into my feast. OH MY GOD! Pain beyond all measure, a burn so sensational and so real I thought my taste buds were liquified. The only way to ease my agony was by stuffing my mouth with ice chips. Technically, dinner was over and the discomfort continued to persist for hours afterward. You would imagine that my love for the spicy life was affected, but not at all, on the contrary, I have a greater respect for spices derived from peppers.
There are a myriad of health benefits associated with peppers. Capsaicin is the active ingredient which can help the body burn calories faster and raise metabolism levels. Adding spices to your diet curbs the appetite, boosts brainpower by sweeping out plaque deposits which staves off the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and is also known as a natural mood enhancer. The hot temperature of spicy food promotes sweating thereby easing the discomfort of cold and flu symptoms. Recently, I read an article that discusses a belief that eating spicy food can even induce labor, although there is no scientific research to support this claim.
I know that spicy food is not for everyone, and there are risks associated with it as well, especially to those with ulcers (but that is an entirely different blog post altogether). However, if used sparingly, it can provide you with the tasty health benefits I’ve mentioned above. I would like to view spicy food as entertainment for the taste buds.