Health & Spirit

Spice down your cravings

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

He's eaten smoking-hot wings with actor Bob Saget, who began hiccupping uncontrollably; astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson sneezed while talking about black holes with him; and comedian Ricky Gervais yelled into his napkin. His name is Sean Evans, and his YouTube series "Hot Ones" has more than 2 million subscribers. Seems watching people eat super-spicy foods is highly entertaining.

But that's not all. According to the results of a new study, eating capsaicin -- the main hot and spicy component of chili peppers -- might help you reduce your sodium intake.

For the study, researchers looked at brain scans of over 600 people and discovered that the areas that responded to spicy and salty foods overlap, and eating spicy foods reduces salt cravings. This comes on the heels of info that capsaicin is a vasodilator, which help lower blood pressure.

These findings are especially helpful given recent guidelines that lowered the threshold for high blood pressure to 130/80, making it clear that even this degree of high blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Anyone with HBP, heart disease, diabetes or kidney problems should have only 1,500 mg of sodium daily. If you have salt-sensitive HBP (that's fewer than 0.5 percent of you), excess sodium is deadly. To find out if that's you, measure your BP; then go off all salt for five days, and measure again. Your BP should dip more than 20/10. The rest of you? Aim for around 2,300 mg daily.

So, substituting peppers for salt makes sense for everyone, and you don't have to use super-hot ghost peppers!



Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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