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Adding a Dash of This Spice to Your Dish Can Aid in Weight Loss


Red chili peppers have a reputation for being healthful, as studies show they increase circulation and red chili peppers have even been shown to help reduce the risk of early death from an array of chronic diseases. And now, a new study finds another benefit of this spice that would come as welcome news to most people — it has slimming effects.

Few people can go through life without escaping the “battle of the bulge.” Even many individuals who were slender in their youth often experience much more difficulty with weight management once they reach middle age. Therefore, the recent discovery that eating spicy food has anti-obesity effects provides us all with a pleasant method to help deal with shedding those extra pounds that seem to creep up so easily.

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How Do Red Chili Peppers Lend a Helping Hand in Weight Management?

Recent research published in the American Society for Microbiology found red chili pepper contains a compound called capsaicin that reduces two major contributors of obesity: gut inflammation and insulin resistance. A team of scientists from Boston and China fed mice a high-fat diet with capsaicin. When they tested the rodents later, it was apparent that the spice had prevented some weight gain.

This finding builds upon a 2015 study presented at the annual meeting of the Biophysical Society, which uncovered another weight loss effect of red chili pepper — it showed the spice transformed the health liability of white fat into the health asset of brown fat. As brown fat cells burn stored fat, the more of them you have, the more calories you burn overall. Earlier research indicates brown fat can also enhance insulin sensitivity, an effect that reduces the risk of obesity.

Other obesity-fighting mechanisms of red chili pepper were discovered in a 2014 study published in the journal Appetite. It revealed that when people consumed the spice with a meal, they had more feelings of fullness and experienced less cravings, which are benefits that lead to a reduced caloric intake.

Why Is Weight Control So Important?

Being overweight puts you at greater risk of several serious health problems. Research shows it raises the likelihood of heart disease and diabetes, as well as produces changes in the brain that are precursors to dementia and Alzheimer’s. In addition, an increased waistline size elevates the risk of 10 forms of cancer including: esophagus, stomach, bowel, gall bladder, liver, pancreas, kidneys, ovaries and uterus.

Cook with Red Chili Pepper

This spice is featured prominently in the cuisine of certain regions of the country. In my abode in South Louisiana, a place renowned for food that explodes with flavor, red chili pepper is often added to everything from vegetable and meat dishes to soups and stews. If you aren’t accustomed to using red chili pepper, you’ll find that a little dash makes many menu items more savory.

Here is a recipe to try, provided by Justin and Erica Winn of Real Simple Good.

Recipe: Paleo Spicy Thai Chicken Stir-Fry

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4


  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 3 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 cup mushrooms, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger root, diced (or grated)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup cashews, diced
  • 5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced into small 1 x 1/2 inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons cashew butter
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Diced green onions for topping


  • To start, chop up the broccoli, celery, cabbage and mushrooms. Place in a bowl and set aside.
  • Next, chop up the shallot, ginger, garlic, cashews and chicken. Now you are ready to go.
  • Heat a large skillet (or wok) over medium-high heat. Add in the sesame oil, shallot, ginger and garlic. Sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add in the chicken and cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes or until the chicken is mostly cooked.
  • Add in the broccoli, celery, cabbage and mushrooms. Sauté for another 5 or so minutes, until the vegetables are starting to soften. At this point, the cabbage and mushrooms will have cooked down, releasing some liquid into the pan. Pour off all excess liquid.
  • Add in the cashews (reserving a few pinches for garnish), apple cider vinegar, fish sauce, cashew butter, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Mix everything well until the cashew butter is evenly distributed throughout the dish. Cook for 1 to 2 more minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from heat, top with green onions and remaining cashews and serve.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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