A taste for spice will help you reduce your salt intake. This has implications for anyone who’s trying to keep a cap on how much salt they eat.
Hubby and I both have high blood pressure. We have it under control but that’s partly because we’re aware of the salt content of everything we eat. He loves to lather food with Frank’s Red Hot sauce and I wish I could. (Can’t tolerate too much heat.) Now science is proving that a taste for spicy food reduces the need to add salt.
Hundreds of people in China were asked whether they preferred salty or spicy foods. The salt-lovers drank high-salt drinks and tolerated a lot more before they found the beverages too salty. They also had higher blood pressure.
The spice-lovers had a lower threshold for salt and an easier time detecting it.
Researchers believe the chemical that brings the heat – capsaicin – increases activity in the brain that’s also lit up by salt. Spicy food tricks the brain into believing it’s had salt when it hasn’t, or that it’s had more than it has.
I’m all for brain trickery when it results in a benefit. My RMT told me that doing a neck stretch for fifteen seconds fools the brain into believing the muscles are being stretched for much longer. You get more benefit for less effort. I’m all ears for any more brain-tricking tips. Ears and neck.
The full study is published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.