Have you heard that spicy food is good for you? That it can even help you lose weight? Obviously, I'm not into weight loss gimmicks and definitely don't buy into to the myth that some foods 'cause' weight gain and others weight loss (check out the Eat With Zest approach in our post, How to Eat Perfect For You).
bring on the spice
That said, there is evidence that some heat on your plate can dampen your appetite and might help you squeeze into your skinny jeans. But, keep reading, because the benefits go much further.
Capsaicin, the spicy compound in cayenne and most hot peppers can improve your digestion. Better digestion = more nutrient absorption = stronger, healthier, more energized you.
The capsaicin is also like a shield against illness - it's a powerful antioxidant that protects you from inflammation, seasonal colds and scary diseases like cancer.
I got thinking about this because of the fall whether that fell upon Portland this week. (I'm soooo not ready to say goodbye to sunshine and long days, but I'm working on acceptance... :) Anyway, as soon as the temp drops below 70, my fingers and toes turn to icicles. Cayenne is super effective for improving circulation, so fall and winter are my seasons for spice.
bring on fall foods
I've also been in the delicious throes of developing recipes for our October Nutrition Bootcamp.
Nourishing green smoothies are a staple of Bootcamp, but when the weather gets cold, I often want something warming.
Solution: add some spice.
I'm super excited to share this spicy, chocolatey, warming smoothie! It's literally like drinking Mexican hot chocolate, but in a green-smoothie kind of way ;)
I wish this smoothie had turned out a more appetizing color, but don't judge a book by it's cover. It turns out that spinach gives smoothies a green-hue, who knew? And since that spinach also means a delicious serving of chocolate-flavored veggies to start my day, I'll take it.
Hope this smoothie warms your fall and adds some spice to your life!
Love & Zest,
Spicy Hot Chocolate Smoothie
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 cup plain, organic Greek yogurt
- 1 banana, frozen is key to a creamy texture
- 1/4 avocado
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp cacao powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- tiny pinch of salt
Blend until smooth, then bottoms up!
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