Jalapenos, habaneros, cayenne pepper, hot sauce -- these mouthwatering flavor-boosters can do a whole lot more than just jazz up your chili and nachos. According to University of Cincinnati researchers, capsaicin -- what gives these spices their fiery flavor -- is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound that prevents the formation of dangerous blood clots in the arteries. In follow-up studies, research found that capsaicin also broke down blood fats before they could be converted into artery-clogging cholesterol. Plus, it relaxed arteries, cutting the risk of damaging blood pressure surges in half.
The study-proven dose: All you need is 1/4 teaspoon of the dried spices, 1 teaspoon of a hot sauce or 1 tablespoon of fresh or pickled hot peppers daily.