ALL THE REASONS YOU COULD NEED TO SPICE UP YOUR LIFE (HINT: THEY'RE ALL GAINZ RELATED)

I’ve covered the topic in passing in the past, but I still don’t believe that my appreciation for, and subsequent belief that you should share that love for, pungent foods. I realize that most of you think pungent is a worst reserved for stuff that stinks, but according to the dictionary and science, pungent refers to anything you would traditionally think of as “spicy.” That includes chili peppers, ginger, horseradish, mustard seeds, wasabi, black pepper, Indian long pepper, szechwan pepper, and a variety of other delicious stuff, and in addition to making your food delicious, pungent foods have a crazy array of health benefits ranging from improving the effectiveness of other chemicals you ingest to increased metabolism to the wholesale Vlad the Impaler-style slaughter of cancer, and they serve to separate the wusses from everyone else, because if you can’t handle spiciness, you probably can’t handle anything cool. The same type of people who think Eddie Murphy Raw is “too vulgar” and vastly prefer the comedic stylings of Jeff Dunham and other sundry clean comedians, people who prefer Michael Bolton to Cannibal Corpse, the people who willingly buy a beige Toyota Camry… those are the people who prefer their food bland and avoid pungent foods. In short, wusses and generally terrible, fat asses with low IQs and low testosterone (Begue).

I suppose their one claim to preeminence is that their assholes aren’t constantly being seared shut when they poop. Balderdash, say I! The asshole-scorching goodness that comes with a pungent meal lets you know that your b-hole won’t be too hairy if someone decides to toss your salad and that any unhealthy bacteria is going to be murdered all to death. So, in an effort to spread the toilet-searing pungency love, we’re gonna cover all the ways you can get the job done, and exactly why it would behoove you to do so.

And by the way:

 

“‘ALTHOUGH YOU FEEL LIKE IT’S BURNING [WHEN YOU EAT SPICY FOODS], IT’S ACTUALLY A TRICK OF THE MIND,’ HE SAYS, ADDING THAT SPICY FOODS DO NOT CAUSE ANY PHYSICAL HARM TO A WELL-FUNCTIONING DIGESTIVE SYSTEM. [EMPHASIS MINE] 

 

THE CHEF EXPLAINS THAT FIERY FOOD TASTES HOT BECAUSE CHEMICAL MOLECULES, SUCH AS CAPSAICIN, EXCITE PAIN RECEPTORS ON YOUR TONGUE THAT ARE LINKED TO THE SENSATION OF TEMPERATURE, NOT BECAUSE IT’S BURNING OFF YOUR TASTEBUDS. ‘IT’S MORE OF A SENSATION OF HEAT THAN SOMETHING PHYSICAL. INTERESTINGLY, SPEARMINT ACTUALLY HITS ON THE SAME RECEPTOR, CREATING A SENSE OF COLD.’ 

 

CHEF PHILLIPS SAYS SPICY FOOD LOVERS AREN’T BORN WITH AN AFFINITY FOR HOT SAUCE. RATHER, IT’S ACQUIRED OVER TIME, AS CAPSAICIN AND OTHER SPICY FOOD MOLECULES DEPLETE A NEUROTRANSMITTER CALLED SUBSTANCE P, WHICH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR SENDING PAIN SIGNALS TO THE BRAIN” (SWEET). 

So, there’s no need to worry that you’re going to jack yourself up by kicking up the pungency level of your food a few notches- i.e. don’t be a wuss about this and just do it.

Burns So Good In So Many Ways

I will do my best to be as comprehensive as possible here, but I am certain there is no way I will manage to hit all the ways you can light your taste buds up like you were napalming a village of people in some far-away jungle who are sitting around listening to music that sounds like whales raping each other while completely unaware of the existence of the United States. Yeah, your ass is going to burn in ways you didn’t think were possible outside enhanced interrogation techniques or an anal probe by aliens, because as it turns out there is a hell of a lot more pungent stuff out there than just Sriracha and black pepper. Let’s look at what’s out there.

The Mustard Family

Love ’em or hate ’em, there are a lot of members of this family of plants that will blow your sinuses open like you filled a Netti Pot with Greek Fire.

This family contains a wide range of plants, but the ones with which we are concerned contains allyl isothiocyanate (AITC). Found in your favorite nasal-scorching condiments like wasabi, horseradish, brown and black mustard (but not white/yellow mustard, which contains sinalbin rather than AITC), and radish. This stuff, unlike the capsaicin in chilies or the active ingredients in peppercorns, hits you in the sinuses rather than the mouth. We’ve all been there- a mouthful of wasabi or Chinese yellow mustard has your eyes tearing up like you just got whacked in the nose with a bit of rebar in a street fight, and any sinus congestion you may have had instantly dissipates. The health benefits of mustard oil go way beyond making Flonase look like dirty bathwater though. Check it out:

  • it makes Advil it’s punk bitch because its anti-inflammatory properties are insane (Wagner)
  • the precursor to AITC, sinigrin, is also found in all these veggies and may be an extremely potent nootropic (though the only evidence I could find of this is that it makes you much less retarded when whacked off your face on ketamine) (Yadav)
  • clears up colds and the flu in a goddamned hurry, and might even cure your athlete’s foot- this stuff will slaughter anything in your body that’s not supposed to be there (including listeria, E. coli, and staph) due to its insanely strong antimicrobial and antifungal properties (Chacon)
  • makes you less of a fatass, because it drastically improves insulin sensitivity (Ahn)

 

Black Pepper (which also includes white and green)

We’ve all used it. We all know what it tastes like. What you might not have known is that all the colors of peppercorns are all the same basic thing- the black peppercorn is a green (ripe) peppercorn that’s been dried, while the green peppercorn that is canned or otherwise preserved to retain its color, and the white peppercorn is just the seed of the pepper plant with the black bit removed. They all have slightly different flavors, but the thing that makes them awesome remains the same- piperine.

Piperine doesn’t do much on its own, but it is a badass companion to other stuff you might ingest. Its main claim to fame is its ability to drastically increase the bioavailability of just about everything and increase the length of time compounds remain active in your system (Han, Shoba). Yeah, bro- that means adding it to your food all day long makes almost everything you take that day hit harder, from your fat burner to your test booster to your joint supplement (this stuff increases the effectiveness of curcumin by 2000%). It also increases digestion, has antimicrobial properties, and improves mental function, so grab that pepper shaker and make it rain (Organic Facts).

Ginger (and Grains of Paradise)

If you’re like me and thought ginger was just reserved for crappy cookies and soda, you and I would both be wildly incorrect. Outside of those two things, I only really respected the spiciness of ginger after trying some ginger ale in South Carolina that will peel your goddamned wig back- Blenheim Ginger Ale. I took one swig of that and thought I’d been poisoned. Seriously, Everclear goes down like water compared to Blenheim. If fire and gonorrhea screwed and had a baby in the form of a soda, that soda would be what you drank to chase Blenheim in the hopes it would wash away the pain. That pain was caused by the volatile oils gingerol and paradol found in ginger. Gingerol is badass, because not only can you use it in BDSM to fire up someone’s holes, it:

 

Paradol, which is the active ingredient in Grains of Paradise and is also found in ginger, is aromatic ketone that brings the ruckus as well. Because I’m sure you guys are unaware of Grains of Paradise’s existence (I recently discovered it because my girlfriend has it in a pepper shaker and wondered what in the hell I’d seasoned my ribs with), it’s often confused with black pepper and to me tastes like a milder black pepper. Frankly, it is worth adding to everything in addition to black pepper because it:

 

Long Pepper

Never heard of it. I hadn’t either until an episode of one of my two favorite podcasts (Milk Street Radio) encouraged me to get out there and investigate the great wide world of peppers out there. Long pepper is spicier than black pepper and was the preferred pepper of Europe until the fourteenth century. After that, it was replaced by chilies coming from the New World because it has a similar flavor and pungency to chilies. The stuff that brings the heat in the long pepper is piperlonguime (PPL), and it’s a goddamned beast. It:

  • improves brain health like crazy (Prasad)
  • is the Robin to other stuff’s Batman. Like piperine, it enhances the bioavailablity of various pharmaceuticals and supplements (Patel)
  • fights inflammation like a firefighter fighting a last stand in a forest fire (Prasad)
  • makes you forget there is even such a thing as prostate cancer, because it effectively kills it at the start (Golovine)
  • jacks up your fat metabolism to keep you lean and mean (Prasad)

According to Reddit, this entire article is a hate crime. And I refuse to google “xd”- I just despise every person who uses it and live in the knowledge that whatever it means, it’s the sole purview of people whom I loathe.

So, the takeaway is that if you’re not making your food as pungent as possible, you’re a stupid ass and a wuss, and you have no one to blame for your fatness, athlete’s foot, low T, and stupidity but yourself. Only bland people like bland food. Don’t be bland, and for all that’s unholy don’t be fat.

Pungency is Power.

Sources:

Ahn J, Lee H, Im SW, Jung CH, Ha TY. Allyl isothiocyanate ameliorates insulin resistance through the regulation of mitochondrial function. J Nutr Biochem. 2014 Oct;25(10):1026-34.

Akpanabiatu MI, Ekpo ND, Ufot UF, Udoh NM, Akpan EJ, Etuk EU. Acute toxicity, biochemical and haematological study of Aframomum melegueta seed oil in male Wistar albino rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2013 Nov 25;150(2):590-4.

Bègue L, Bricout V, Boudesseul J, Shankland R, Duke AA. Some like it hot: testosterone predicts laboratory eating behavior of spicy food. Physiol Behav. 2015 Feb;139:375-7.

Carollo, Kim. The World’s Hottest Pepper: Brings Pleasure and Pain Relief. ABC News. 20 Feb 2012. Web. 15 May 2014. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/capsaicin-ingredient-hot-peppers-offers-medical-benefits/story?id=15727011

Chacon PA1, Buffo RA, Holley RA. Inhibitory effects of microencapsulated allyl isothiocyanate (AIT) against Escherichia coli O157:H7 in refrigerated, nitrogen packed, finely chopped beef. Int J Food Microbiol. 2006 Apr 1;107(3):231-7.

Ezuruike UF, Prieto JM. The use of plants in the traditional management of diabetes in Nigeria: pharmacological and toxicological considerations. J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 Sep 11;155(2):857-924.

Funk JL, Frye JB, Oyarzo, Janice N, Timmermann BN. Comparative Effects of Two Gingerol-Containing Zingiber officinale Extracts on Experimental Rheumatoid Arthritis. J Nat Prod. 2009 72(3): 403–7.

Golovine KV, Makhov PB, Teper E, Kutikov A, Canter D, Uzzo RG, Kolenko VM. Piperlongumine induces rapid depletion of the androgen receptor in human prostate cancer cells. Prostate. 2013 Jan;73(1):23-30. doi: 10.1002/pros.22535. Epub 2012 May 16.

Han HK. The effects of black pepper on the intestinal absorption and hepatic metabolism of drugs. Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol. 2011 Jun;7(6):721-9.

Kamtchouing P, Mbongue Fandio GY, Dimo T, Jatsa HB. Evaluation of androgenic activity of Zingiber officinale and Pentadiplandra brazzeana in male rats. Asian J Androl. 2002 Dec;4(4):299-301.

Janssens PL, Hursel R, Martens EA, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Acute effects of capsaicin on energy expenditure and fat oxidation in negative energy balance. PLoS One. 2013 Jul 2;8(7):e67786

Nammi S, Sreemantula S, Roufogalis BD. Protective effects of ethanolic extract of Zingiber officinale rhizome on the development of metabolic syndrome in high-fat diet-fed rats. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2009 May;104(5):366-73.

Oh TW, Oh TW, Ohta F. Dose-dependent effect of capsaicin on endurance capacity in rats. Br J Nutr. 2003 Sep;90(3):515-20.

Organic Facts. 9 amazing facts about black pepper. Organic Facts.

21 Jan 2018. Web. 31 Mar 2018. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-black-pepper.html

Ozgoli G, Goli M, Moattar F. Comparison of effects of ginger, mefenamic acid, and ibuprofen on pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Feb;15(2):129-32.

Patel K, Chowdhury N, Doddapaneni R, Boakye CHA, Godugu C, Singh M.

Piperlongumine for Enhancing Oral Bioavailability and Cytotoxicity of Docetaxel in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. J Pharm Sci. 2015 Dec;104(12):4417-4426.

Prasad S, Tyagi AK. Historical Spice as a Future Drug: Therapeutic Potential of Piperlongumine. Curr Pharm Des. 2016;22(27):4151-9.

Sugita J, Yoneshiro T, Hatano T, Aita S, Ikemoto T, Uchiwa H, Iwanaga T, Kameya T, Kawai Y, Saito M. Grains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta) extract activates brown adipose tissue and increases whole-body energy expenditure in men. Br J Nutr. 2013 Aug;110(4):733-8.

Sweet, Joni. Why some people just can’t handle spicy food. Thrillist. 11 Mar 2016. Web. 31 Mar 2018. https://www.thrillist.com/health/nation/what-makes-some-people-like-spicy-food-and-others-hate-it

Wagner AE, Boesch-Saadatmandi C, Dose J, Schultheiss G, Rimbach G. Anti-inflammatory potential of allyl-isothiocyanate–role of Nrf2, NF-(κ) B and microRNA-155. J Cell Mol Med. 2012 Apr;16(4):836-43.

Yadav M, Parle M, Dhingra MS. Protective effect of Brassica oleracea juice against Ketamine-induced stereotypic behaviours in mice. JMPS 2017; 5(1): 200-204.

 

 

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