Living in San Antonio (and loving the local cuisine) you don’t pay much attention to the fact that most of the dishes revolve around jalapeno and other chili peppers. We all just know we like it! But, fast food chains and places all around the country have caught on to the fact that Americans love their spicy food and are offering more menu items that have or feature these. I wanted to let you all know that this is a trend that may actually be good for your health!
The jalapeno is a type of chili pepper and there have been a number of studies recently regarding the component within the jalapeno that causes its intense heat called capsaicin. Researchers in South Korea have been feeding mice capsaicin extracts and finding that it results in lowered inflammation and lower levels of leptin. Leptin is the hormone that plays a key role in reducing your appetite and helps regulate metabolism. Also, a study in Clinical Nutrition last year found that capsaicin, when combined with green tea, helped to promote a filling of fullness and aid in weight loss. Of course more studies and investigation needs to be done on this topic, but if a little spicy food is showing a small positive improvement in my metabolism, then I say bring on the chipotle sauce! In the very least, spicy foods will force you to slow down when eating and prevent you from eating too much too quickly and therefore help you to maintain or lose weight. However, I am not saying it is a great idea to get the spicy breaded chicken sandwich or jalapeno poppers from your local fast food joint. But, you can add jalapenos to your salad, grind them into dips, or use chipotle sauce on any entrée to give it extra heat.
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