Our intro to the hot-and-spicy:
Mirage Integrative Medi-SPA offers delicious, results-oriented, natural-skin-care treatments. Our products are handcrafted with a fresh harvest of various herbs and flowers like roses and marigolds, fruits like oranges and grapefruits, and vegetables like tomatoes and the ever intriguing hot peppers-extract.
Miraje is a wholesome professional and retail product line used on a variety of wellness treatments, from organic scrubs to vitamin packed moisturizers for rosacea, dry skin, and the sign of aging.
"Spices have been used to flavor, color and preserve food for thousands of years. Humankind’s appetite for spices has spurred travel, conquest, and wars. While the delightful, aromatic and intoxicating flavors derived from spices have apparently motivated these rather momentous events in human history, recent research adds another attribute to spices, particularly chili peppers.
Spices have long been known to provide health benefits because they are loaded with powerful aromatic compounds as well as polyphenols, which provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, muscle relaxing, blood flow enhancing and cognitive activation properties. Previous studies have associated spice consumption with benefits in obesity, cardiovascular disease, digestive disorders, infections, diabetes, skin conditions and cancer. Now, with a study published in the July 2015 issue of the British Medical Journal, we can add longevity to that long and impressive list.
In this recent study, data was drawn from a subject group of over 500,000 adults from various regions across China. These adults were followed for a median of 7.2 years and the rate of death was categorized according to spice consumption. All participants were asked by questionnaire, “During the past month, about how often did you eat hot spicy foods?” They could answer: never or almost never, only occasionally, 1 or 2 days a week, 3 to 5 days a week, or 6 to 7 days a week. Participants were further asked to identify the main type of hot spices that they typically ate.
It turns out that consumption of spicy foods was associated with a greater likelihood of living longer. Compared with those who ate spicy foods less than once a week, those who consumed spicy foods almost every day had a 14% lower risk of death in this 7-year study. Specifically, eating spicy foods reduced the risk of death due to cancer, ischemic heart diseases, and respiratory diseases in both men and women, and reduced risk of death from infection in women. Of all types of hot spices, eating fresh chili peppers (as opposed to dried chilies or chili sauce) was the spice that was most strongly associated with a longer life. Fresh chili pepper is richer in bioactive ingredients, including capsaicin, vitamin C, and other nutrients such as vitamins A, K, and B6, as well as potassium. These nutrients may be responsible for the health benefits of peppers. Additionally, prior studies have demonstrated that fresh peppers have multiple health benefits including: blood sugar stabilization, anti-infective actions, circulatory stimulation, and support healthy bacterial balance in the digestive tract.
Although chili peppers were the most commonly used spice in the study population, it is true that people who eat fresh chili peppers typically use other types of spices as well. Thus, it could be that eating a combination of many spices deliver the health benefits that were associated with the fresh chili peppers in this study.
So, fellow Thrivers, it’s time to heat things up and enjoy some flavorful chili, soup, curry or spicy guacamole. Try this yummy chilled avocado soup recipe from our friend and talented nutritionist, Conner Middelmann-Whitney.
Chilled guacamole soup
This creamy soup is inspired by the famous Mexican avocado-dip, guacamole. It is tangy, refreshing and exotic but incredibly quick and easy to whip up because it involves no cooking. Because it is rich and thick, it can be enjoyed as a light lunch on a hot day. Rather than adding tomatoes to the soup – which gives it an unattractive khaki hue – I like to prepare a fresh, light salsa of tomatoes, onions and cilantro separately and spoon it over the soup for added color, texture and nutrients. For an extra-refreshing soup, chill all the ingredients for an hour before preparing. Serves 4 as an appetizer or light summer lunch.
2 large ripe avocados
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 large, fresh jalapeno, cored, deseeded and finely chopped
2 cups cold chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup milk (low-fat cow’s milk or unsweetened plant milk)
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
a large pinch of finely grated lime zest
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
½ cup fresh cilantro
1 tsp salt, some freshly ground pepper to season
1 cup grape tomatoes, finely chopped
4 spring onions, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro
A pinch of chili powder or a few squirts of chili sauce (optional)
Organic tortilla chips for garnish, coarsely crushed (about 8-10 per person)
Place avocados, garlic, jalapeno, stock, milk, lime juice and zest, coriander, cumin and cilantro in a blender and liquidize until smooth and creamy. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lime juice. Chill for at least one hour.
Just before serving, make the salsa by putting tomatoes, spring onions, cilantro, chili powder or sauce (if using) in a small bowl and tossing these lightly to mix them together.
Serve soup in soup plates or glasses, topped with salsa, and accompany with organic tortilla chips (if using soup plates, you can sprinkle crushed tortilla chips over the soup for added texture)."
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