It may surprise you to learn that humans didn’t evolve eating chili peppers. That’s right — it wasn’t until 12,000 years ago that people started adding chili peppers to their food.
Now, chili pepper products such as hot sauces and salsas are almost a must-have in every American household.
Some even go as far as giving entire salsa gift sets to friends, family, and business partners who like hot sauces and foods.
As a result of society’s growing passion for chilies, growers are putting in more research and work to breed even hotter varieties of peppers.
Some of these peppers even reach a rating of over 2 million Scoville heat units — that’s about a thousand times hotter than a jalapeño!
While people may think that liking spicy food can make you “manlier,” studies have found that girls may like hot sauces and peppers more than men do.
Read on to learn more!
Why do girls like hot sauce more than men do?
Back in 1980, a psychology professor from the University of Pennsylvania linked liking roller coasters with liking spicy food.
In his paper, Paul Rozin documented how thrill-seeking and benign machismo could have some influence on why people like hot or spicy food. (This has been the standard explanation for over 30 years!)
More recently, researchers from Penn State have expanded on Rozin’s work and have discovered that gender differences seem to play a significant role in a person’s appreciation for hot or spicy food as well.
Researcher John Hayes and his partner, Nadia Byrnes discovered that women who like spicy foods may be more drawn to the sting and taste of the food.
Men, on the other hand, were more inclined to eat hot or spicy food for the machismo factor of the act — not so much for the taste.
In other words, women are after the extreme sensations of eating hot sauces and food, while men are more after the social rewards and recognition they get.
Top benefits of spicy food that you didn’t know
There’s more to hot sauces and spices than meets the eye. Besides being a tasty additive to your everyday recipe, spicy food and sauces have a myriad of noteworthy benefits.
Below, we’ve made a list of the most common benefits of spicy food that most people don’t know:
Spicy food can help unclog pores
If you’re someone who struggles with skin concerns like clogged and dirty pores, then spicy food might be something you want to try. Chili peppers contain a chemical called capsaicin, which triggers the body’s cooling mechanism in response to the spiciness of your food.
In other words, it helps you sweat. When you sweat, your pores open up, releasing dirt and other toxins that may be affecting your skin health.
Spicy food can promote weight loss
Obesity and being overweight increase a person’s risk of developing health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. If you’ve reached a plateau in your weight loss journey and are looking for a way to boost your progress, try eating spicy food.
The capsaicin found in chili peppers isn’t just good for unclogging your pores. It also boosts the body’s metabolism, which can help you burn more calories both at rest and during exercise.
Not to say that your diet should be composed of solely spicy and hot food. It’s important that you still eat a wide variety of food groups in order to complete your daily nutrition needs.
Spicy food can improve blood flow
Poor blood circulation can be caused by a number of health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and peripheral artery disease. Having poor circulation can result in several unpleasant symptoms, such as muscle cramps, pain, and digestive issues.
If you’re struggling with any of these symptoms, eating spicy food might help improve your situation.
Studies show that capsaicin contained in chili peppers promotes blood flow by lowering blood pressure and increasing the release of nitric oxide and other vasodilators in the body.
Vasodilators relax the tiny muscles found in your blood vessels, therefore making it easier for blood to flow through.
Spicy food can be an effective pain reliever
When you bite into a chili pepper, there is usually a burning and stinging sensation that follows. This is caused by the capsaicin inside the pepper.
When applied to the nerves of the hands and feet, it can result in those nerves losing their feeling for an extended period — combating pain.
Sometimes chili peppers are made into topical ointments and lotions to help with a variety of conditions. Pain relief is one of the many benefits a person can gain from using these creams. This is why it’s often used to treat conditions such as arthritis and athletic injuries.
Men and women like hot sauces and spicy food for different reasons.
Women eat it more for the burning and stinging sensation they feel from eating spicy food. Men, on the other hand, eat it for the praise and rewards they get for doing the act.
Regardless of your reason, everyone can enjoy the many health benefits of eating spicy food. Just be careful not to overdo it; otherwise, you might put yourself at risk of unhealthy side effects and complications.