During your visit to Thailand you will undoubtedly get an introduction to Thai cuisine, yes Thai food is usually very spicy but spicy food does have health benefits, here are some of the health benefits of eating spicy food.
The many health benefits of eating spicy food include amongst other things, it can help you to keep cool, this is mainly because spicy food makes you sweat and the evaporating sweat then has a cooling effect on your body, this may be a temporary fix but in the long term eating spicy Thai food is a good choice of food to eat to beat the heat, it helps to keep you cool by thinning the blood and improving circulation. As well as causing sweating, this heat also opens up your sinuses and encourages the flow of mucous which is good if you happen to be suffering with a cold or flu.
The benefits of eating spicy food are not restricted to the circulatory system, capsaicin is also said to slow the growth of cancer cells, fight inflammation and bacteria and speed up your metabolism which in turn helps you lose weight. Spicy food also boosts your endorphin levels and gives you a feel good factor, helps you to sleep more easily and is thought to reduce the risk of brain and nervous disorders. Chilli peppers have high quantities vitamins A and C, red peppers contain high levels of beta caratone.
Other beneficial spices found in Thai food are ginger and turmeric. The health benefits of eating ginger are relief of arthritis pain, ginger is also a proven remedy for motion sickness and nausea, it has anti inflammatory properties and has even been used as an aphrodisiac. Turmeric too has anti inflammatory qualities, plus anti bacterial and painkilling properties.
How hot are Thai chillies
The most commonly used chilli pepper in Thailand is the Prig kee nu, also known as the ( mouse dropping pepper ) which scores more than 70,000 Scoville heat units, at the bottom of the scale is the bell pepper at 0 SHU, jalapeno peppers are between 3 – 8,000 SHU, the hottest is the naga jokolia from India which is 1000,000 SHU.
Spicy Food Tips
If you eat something to spicy for you and your mouth is burning, try drinking milk, milk neutralizes the capsaicin and gives some relief. Other things which may help put out the fire are cheese, banana, citrus fruits such as lemon and lime or a sugar and water solution.
Always be sure to wash your hands after you have been preparing or handling spicy foods, especially chillies, the capsaicin can also cause burning on sensitive areas of skin and the eyes.
Spicy Food Warnings
There seems to be some argument over the effects of spicy food on stomach ulcers, one chain of thought suggests that spicy food can cause, or at the least aggravate ulcers. The opposing argument believes spicy food has no detrimental effect on ulcers. I think the safest path to take if you do have a stomach ulcer is to refrain from eating spicy food or at least consult your doctor first for advice.
Spicy Food Facts
- There are over 400 varieties of chilli
- The average Thai person eats more chilli than any other nationality
- Capsaicin is the ingredient which makes chillies hot
- The heat of a chilli is measured in Scoville Heat Units
- The hottest chilli in the world is the Naga Jolokia from India, measuring over 1,000,000 Scoville units
- Indian woman Anadita Dutta Tamuly ate 51 Naga Jolokia chillies to claim the World chilli eating record in April 2009
Interested in Thai food ?, you might also want to read a brief History of Thai Food.