Why you should enjoy spicy food? International Hot and Spicy Food Day celebrated on 16 Jan

Pork Vindaloo to Pani Puri, or Phaal curry to chili sauce served with hot momos our Indian cuisine is flooded with spices. Every state or a region has a spicy specialty to offer. The Naga Mirch or Bhoot Jholokia found in our Eastern states rates a 1,041,427 SHU on Scoville scale. Hot! I tried the Bhoot Jholokia pickle at Imbiss, The Meating Joint in Colaba and I can tell you that a hot food lover like me couldn’t take its heat after a point. Mumbai is a brewing pot of various cuisines. And the hotness calculator rises with Kolhapuri Misal to the Malvani gravies. The neighboring states, especially Rajasthan offers Lal maans (hot meat gravy), Pyaj Kachori, Mirchi bada, Bikaneri Bhujia to add to the list of hottest food available for our palate. I remember once we ordered dal tadka from a local shop in some remote area of Rajasthan (on our road trip from Mumbai to Gurgaon via Rajasthan) and the dal was extremely spicy. It was almost red in color because of the red chili powder added to the dish. A local friend explained that it was normal to eat that much of heat in the dal tadka in that region. With numerous restaurants serving south Indian cuisine in Mumbai, finding a Chicken Chettinad or Mutton Chili Fry is not a problem at all. Moreover, Mexican food has gripped our taste buds with its fiery offerings. So getting a chili fix is easy in our city.

Is eating spicy food good? Hot and spicy food in India

“2014 Dried chilli flakes” by Takeaway – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons

India is the world’s largest producer, consumer and exporter of chili peppers. Guntur in the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh produces 30% of all the chilies produced in India. Andhra Pradesh as a whole contributes 75% of India’s chili exports. On the occasion of International Hot and Spicy day, foodpanda released the survey findings to understand the consumption patterns of hot and spicy food in various regions of India. The survey was conducted based on the online food ordering trend witnessed over the past 8 months across the Indian metro cities. It is evident from the findings that the online food ordering for hot and spicy food across India has increased by 40% as compared to last year. While Andhra Cuisine is termed as the spiciest of all cuisines by the consumers, the cities have interesting consumption trends building up when it comes to their preferences in hot and spicy food options.

Indian food hotness on scoville scale, foodpanda survey on spicy food

The key highlights of the survey are as follows:-

  1. Chili Chicken tops as the hottest and spicy rated cuisine consumed in Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
  2. Bangalore orders most of the non-vegetarian food while Chennai marks the lowest consumption. While Andhra Cuisine is most hot and spicy, food lovers from Hyderabad are opting for Chinese and Northern cuisines the most.
  3. Mumbai and Pune are going western experimental with their food preferences. Mexican is the way to go for them while, Chennai sticks to the roots with most of the orders coming up for Chicken Chettinad
    Food lovers order non vegetarian cuisines more than the vegetarian hot and spicy options.
  4. Dinner is the most preferred time followed by lunch for spicy food

So we can see that the trend to eat spicy food is increasing with each passing day. Be it the heat of Wasabi or Mustard or the raw appeal of green chilies, we Indians prefer to eat hot and spicy food. Period! But many wonder if it’s good or bad for us to eat spicy food? Well, the answer is somewhat a mixed bag.

  • Eating spicy food can give you longer life: British Medical Journal says that eating spicy food 6 times a week can reduce your chances of death by 14 per cent. People who eat spicy food often can have a longer life.
  • Eating spicy food can help in weight control: If you love jalapeños, habaneros, cayenne peppers or the humble green chilies then you can bid fat goodbye. These peppers have capsaicin, a natural chemical that speeds up the metabolism by increasing heart rate and body temperature. The best time to eat spicy peppers is with lunch or dinner.
  • Eating spicy food can give you youthful looks: Spicy food gets blood flow to your skin making it appear youthful. So next time you turn red after eating spicy curry, don’t panic. Treat it like your beauty regimen.
  • Eating spicy food makes you alert: As the body receives spice content it starts to react the same way as our body reacts to threats. It goes into a fight or flight mode which makes our brain alert.

foodpanda survey

  • Eating spicy food can help you with better health: It relieves sinus congestion and open up breathing passage. It increases blood flow and overall blood circulation which is beneficial for the body. Chilies contain vitamin A and C which also boosts the immune system. It acts as an antioxidant and a blood thinner which aids in heart diseases by improving cardiac health. Capsaicin also helps relieves joint inflammation. It also kills stomach bacteria. Spicy food helps in regulating the body temperature. It heats up your body when the outside temperature is cold and cools off your body when the outside temperature is hot. Sweating helps in regulating body temperature when it’s hot outside.

*fact source: www.today.com

But on the hind sight it doesn’t suit everyone. People suffering from stomach ulcers should avoid spicy food as it may irritate their stomach lining and also cause heartburns. It can trigger Irritable Bowel Syndrome, cause diarrhea or worsen hemorrhoids. Moreover, spicy food is made up of oil and deep fried ingredients which degrades its food value. So, Pork Vindaloo is not all hunky dory as a spicy food after all.

So how can you take the maximum benefit from a spicy food? By avoiding rich gravies and option for grilled food garnished with black pepper, Cayenne pepper, vinegar and chili based sauces or sauces where less oil has been used, eating peppers in your salads (pickled in vinegar chilies/peppers make a great addition to your salads and sandwiches).

Well eat chili in moderation, else everyone will say….”Tujhko mirchi lagi to main kya karoon.”

Till then happy eating!

About MumbaiGloss

Parimita Chakravorty is an author, blogger, features writer and a communications specialist. She has written for various popular magazines and websites related to beauty, fashion, jewellery and lifestyle, including HAIR India, Femina.in, BeBeautiful.in, Hello, etc. She has also contributed to various youth blogs and magazines. Her book ‘Look Stunning At Any Size’ has been well appreciated and received by the readers. Currently, she is part of India’s leading IT brand and takes care of their internal communications. Parimita is also working towards bringing awareness about Endometriosis in India; a silent epidemic which is consuming a lot of lives. She manages a page ‘Endometriosis India Files’ where patients discuss their condition and diagnosis.
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