Have you been trying to curb the amount of salt in your diet? Well, this might be a tasty but simple way to do just that.
According to research recently published this week in Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association, eating spicy food will likely impact the amount of salt a person eats.
A survey of 606 local adults in China performed by the Third Military Medical University in Chongqing, China. After asking them about their taste preference and testing their blood pressure, they found that those with a preference for spicy foods consumed less salt and exhibited lower blood pressure numbers, in general.
After, the researchers used brain-imaging techniques to examine parts of the brain known to activate when a person eats something salty. They were able to find that these regions were also triggered by spicy food and that spicy foods had a compounding effect for salt in these brain areas. Thus, the study argues, spicy foods will likely someone more sensitive to salt, allowing that person to enjoy low-salt foods much easier than they might have before.
Why does this finding matter?
Too much salt has been shown to cause health issues such as high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
“If you add some spices to your cooking, you can cook food that tastes good without using as much salt,” said Zhiming Zhu, a lead author on the study, in a statement.
We already know America consumes too much sodium, with more than 75% of it coming from processed, packaged, and restaurant foods according to the American Heart Association. Now that we know salt has such a negative effect on our bodies and that there are tasty ways to lessen our intake of salt, there's no excuse to not start making smarter choices with our food!