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Adefolake Ayotunde-Salami: Why You Should Eat Spicy Foods This Festive Season

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Imagine scrolling through social media and reading, “People who eat spicy foods almost every day have a 14% chance of living longer than those who eat them less than a week, according to researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Why you should eat spicy foods this festive season

I know my Yoruba brothers and sisters are already excited at the thought of more pepper linked with a prolonged life span. I particularly do not eat pepper as such, however, I do not mind pepper in certain meals like the ofada sauce. But the regular pepper stew is a no for me because the spiciness irritates my bowels.

Spicy food is “Nutrition any comestible marinated in and/or which contains chili peppers, mustard with horseradish, curry or other spices that evoke a desired intraoral sensation that crosses pain with pleasure, e.g., diaphoresis, arrhythmias.” Some examples of other spices are: ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, cumin, and so on.

Benefits of spicy foods are:

  • Research by Harvard’s T. H. Chan School of Public Health and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences  shows that fresh and dried chilli peppers, as well as some other spices have been found to have anti-inflammatoryanticanceranti-obesity and antioxidant properties. They identified that those who ate spicy foods once or twice per week had a reduced risk of mortality.
  • Another study showed that men and women who consumed spicy foods have a reduced risk of ischaemic heart disease as well as respiratory system diseases.
  • Consumption of spicy foods speeds up metabolism. In 2012, Gregersen et al carried out a research on mustard, horseradish, black pepper and ginger to identify if it reduces energy intake and expenditure. In conclusion, they realised mustard produced thermogenic effects (means tending to produce heat, and the term is commonly applied to drugs which increase heat through metabolic stimulation)
  • Reduces appetite: For the foodies this season, eating spicy foods would reduce your consumption of food which, in turn, helps with weight loss, and has other health benefits. Ludy and Mattes (2011) showed, through their research, that the effects of red pepper with long term spicy food intake reduced the desire to consume fatty, salty, and sweet foods.

This festive period, as you enjoy meals with your loved ones, remember the benefits of spicy food.

Compliments of the season.


Photo by Greta Hoffman from Pexels

Adefolake Ayotunde-Salami is a Social Safeguard Consultant on World Bank Assisted Projects. She has a B.Sc, M.Sc and hold numerous certifications. She is also an Independent Consultant for top companies in Nigeria and has work experience in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. She is the author of a book on Amazon and Smashwords titled “Functioning In The Knowledge Of Who You Are” and a website ( where she writes articles based on extensive research. She is a Columnist for Bellanaija, Nigeria's biggest blog.  


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