Spice Up Your Diet and Boost Your Health

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern


One of the many things that Arizona is known for is its great Mexican food. In fact, anytime that we have family from out of state come to visit, they always ask that at least one meal that we make them good, homemade Mexican food. To me, the best part about Mexican cuisine is how spicy it can be! Until I became very sensitive to it, I absolutely loved anything spicy and would douse almost any kind of food in hot sauce. Besides just adding a spicy kick to foods, did you know that spicy foods have some pretty amazing health benefits? Salsa with tortilla chips and chilli peppers.Concept

According to registered dietician Patritia Bridget Lane, a little bit of spice in your diet can pack a really healthful punch. One of these is weight management. Peppers contain a compound called capsaicin, which is known to help with weight loss in two ways. First, it boosts metabolism by helping your body break down fat and burn energy faster. Capsaicin also triggers the hypothalamus, the part of your brain that regulates hunger and fullness.

Peppers also have many other health benefits as well. Lane notes that peppers have been shown to reduce high cholesterol, reduce high blood pressure, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, boost gut microbiome stimulate healthy gut flora, and also reduce inflammation.

So, now you can enjoy your spicy Mexican foods even more, because besides being incredibly delicious, you’ll also be getting some pretty good health benefits from all the chilies! Also, while us Arizonans known how to cook up some pretty great homemade Mexican food, it wouldn’t be possible without all the Arizona famers who grow us some pretty great ingredients to use! Whether it be dairy products, meats, pinto beans, or chilis, Arizona has it all!

For some yummy Mexican food recipes, or for information on where to find locally grown products, check out the Fill Your Plate website!

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