Spicy foods aren’t just good for winning bragging rights among your friends for finishing the hottest dish, they’re also great for boosting your metabolism. This is due to a chemical called capsaicin found in hot peppers like chili peppers, jalapenos, and red peppers. Signs of your metabolism being kicked up are sweating, heavier breathing, and the burning sensation you may feel in your mouth and through your body while eating spicy foods.
So, if you’re looking to reap the health benefits of incorporating more spicy foods into your diet, here are some HOT, healthy recipes for meat-eaters and vegetarians:
Chicken Breasts with Green Chile-Almond Cream Sauce
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 3/4 cup chopped seeded fresh New Mexican green chiles
- 3 scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated
- 3 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 6 chicken breast cutlets or fillets (about 4 ounces each)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 tablespoons whipping cream (optional)
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
- Combine almond milk, broth, green chiles, scallion whites, almonds, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook the mixture until reduced by half, 20 to 30 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender or puree in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids).
- Sprinkle chicken with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook half the chicken until browned, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Cook the remaining chicken until browned.
- Add the first batch of chicken back to the pan. Pour in the sauce and cook at a low simmer, turning occasionally, until all the chicken is cooked through and tender, 4 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Stir cream (if using) into the sauce and pour the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with the reserved scallion greens and sesame seeds.
Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium-large sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 4 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 4 teaspoons lime juice
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato and onion and cook, stirring often, until the onion is beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, chipotle and salt and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add water and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the sweet potato is tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Add beans, tomatoes and lime juice; increase heat to high and return to a simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.
For more personalized advice on your diet, use the Vitals Doctor Finder to find a doctor who’s right for you.
Sources: eatingwell.com and livestrong.com