Recently I’ve personally experienced three genuine benefits of spicy foods:
1. Clear sinuses. My sinuses are almost always congested, and when they’re clear, I feel good.
2. Increased consumption of water. I know I don’t drink enough water, and I am constantly trying to find ways to drink more every day. Sometimes I add a Crystal Light mix to my water bottle, and sometimes I just have to force myself to drink it because I know I need it. When I eat a spicy meal, though, I can easily consume 2 large glasses of water in a sitting, no problem. When I’m well-hydrated, I feel good.
3. Portion control. I definitely eat less food when it’s spicy, depending on the level of heat (part of that is because of drinking more water during the meal too, see Spicy Benefit #2). When I’m not bloated, I feel good.
And these are benefits even beyond the purpose of adding flavor to a dish and the health benefits such as aiding digestion. As a kid, my mouth and tongue were not able to tolerate the burning sensation that accompanies the heat, and I’ve never understood why hot spice appeals to people…until now. I think I’m a convert, imagine that!