Give Your Immune System a Boost with Chili Peppers!
I’m sure you’ve noticed it’s cold and flu season.
And when you live in tight quarters as you do in college, well, the viruses responsible for these illnesses are everywhere!
And let’s be honest, if you’re eating most of your meals in the college cafeteria chances are you’re not eating foods naturally rich in vitamins and minerals which are essential in a healthy diet.
Yet the best way to fight the cold and flu season is to boost your immune system naturally. Start by adding as many fruits and vegetables to your diet as you can — think about eating from the rainbow when you visit the salad bar, and make sure to eat a lot of dark leafy greens. And if you aren’t doing so already, make sure to eat a healthy breakfast with a good amount of protein and antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables.
And whether you prepare your meals or eat from the various places available on campus take advantage of the many health benefits of spices and herbs, especially chili peppers!
Yes chili peppers boast amazing healing properties and have been used for centuries by Native Americans and play an important role in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.
The most common chili referenced in medical journals is Cayenne pepper because it packs a heavy punch of healthy nutrients in a tiny package and is readily available around the globe. But all peppers from Poblanos to Jalapenos, Green Chilies and Red Chilies, Habaneros and all the wonderful peppers used in Thai and Chinese cooking contain a host of healthy nutrients, including beta carotene and Vitamin C, and an important ingredient called capsaicin.
Have you ever bitten in a chili pepper?
You instantly feel a wave of warmth flood your body, your skin is flushed and you break into a mild sweat… oh yes and your mouth feels like it’s on fire!
That reaction is called a thermogenic reaction and is brought upon by the capsaicin. Capsaicin has proven anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antioxidant properties, all of which contribute to a strong immune system and help you fight that dreaded winter cold.
Anti-inflammatories keep your mucus membranes healthy and strong. Your mucus membranes are your bodies line of defense against microbes and viruses.
Analgesics numb pain while antioxidants fight free radicals which are a major cause of disease and susceptibility to illness.
And as an added benefit, spicy peppers burn fat!
Remember that thermogenic reaction I mentioned, brought upon by Capsaicin?
Capsaicin causes your basal metabolic rate to increase significantly for up to 3 hours after you eat or drink it. It also leads to a process called Lipid Oxidation, during which your body burns fat for energy. These two combined physical responses to Capsaicin make peppers an amazing tool for optimizing your workouts and weight loss efforts. So add a dash of cayenne pepper or red chili flakes to your recovery drink or post workout meal and enjoy!
If peppers just aren’t your thing don’t fret! There are countless herbs and spices that offer astounding health benefits and are easy to find either fresh or dried. One fun thing to do is to add a new spice or herb to your diet every week or so.
To give you a little extra incentive to add healthy herbs and spices to your meals we’re excited to share with you the November DARE from the United HealthCare We Dare You To Share Campaign. Share a picture or video of a meal you’ve enhanced with herbs or spice for a chance to win a 9 quart LeCreuset French oven, perfect for making fabulous healthy meals for you and your friends, or a weekly $25 gift card.
To enter simply go to www.wedareyoutoshare.com/share and upload your video or photo. You may enter as many times as you like so have fun!
As an added bonus, one of our Beyond the Freshman 15 readers will win a $100 Visa Gift card. Make sure to enter the Promotional code F15 to qualify.
While you are there, make sure to check out the other dares as well. You can take a daily quiz to test your healthcare smarts for a chance to win a Kindle Fire HDX, or share your opinion on a health video for a chance to win a $400 Amazon Gift card… All great prizes for the college student no? Don’t forget to enter the code F15 for a chance to win that $100 Gift Card bonus.
Do you add herbs and spices to your daily diet? What’s your favorite?
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