Studies have proven that increasing the intake of spicy food can help bring down salt and sugar cravings.
Those who are looking to decrease their consumption of salty and sugary food can resort to eating more spicy food to control their cravings, CNN reports.
According to the study published on the American Heart Association, Inc, results revealed that the regions of the brain stimulated by eating salty and spicy foods overlapped. This means that people can trick their brain into thinking that they satisfy their salt cravings by eating spicy food.
This was confirmed by professor and director of the Department of Hypertension and Endocrinology at the Third Military Medical University in Chongqing, China, Dr. Zhiming Zhu.
"It makes us taste the same (level of) saltiness even when a reduced amount of salt is actually consumed," Dr. Zhu said.
The study involving 600 participants even quantified the amount of salt that was consumed less by those who regularly eat spicy food, which is 2.5 grams a day, totaling to 1,000 milligrams less than those who disliked peppery flavors. Those who like spicy food were also found to have lower blood pressure than those who don't.
The study has yet to determine whether their findings apply to people outside of China. However, associate professor Richard David Wainford, from the Department of Pharmacology at Boston University School of Medicine, said that the effects of spicy food could still be used to better the majority's health.
"A lifestyle intervention that adds taste to the diet, in the form of extra spice and flavor, versus reduction of the pleasure given by the salt we add to our food, may have more success as a public health strategy to promote population-level dietary salt reduction," Wainfored explained in the study's editorial.
Meanwhile, studies that tackle whether spicy food can alleviate sugar cravings come out with mixed results.
A study in Denmark from Food and Quality Preference reveal that participants craved for more sweet and fatty foods when consumed tomato soup with cayenne pepper.