Who doesn't like a nice warm bowl of soup to warm up with in the fall and winter months? A new study shows that enjoy chili peppers when the temperatures drop may just help you drop a few pounds!
Short summary of the research
A group of researchers from Japan wanted to see how brown adipose tissue (BAT) was affected by different factors. These included both cold weather and capsinoids – which are found in chili peppers.1 Based on the collected data, it was found that both of these factors help the body to burn fat.
Participants were exposed to 63 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures for two hours on a daily basis. When compared to the control subjects, these individuals had 5 percent less body fat at the end of the study. Another group ate capsinoids for a six week period and were found to burn more energy than a control group that was exposed to cold weather.2
So, how can people use this information to their advantage? Perhaps slurping up a hot bowl of soup that contains chili peppers during the winter months will do the trick – as long as you head outdoors.
Red pepper soup
EatingWell magazine has the perfect recipe for warming up with a comforting soup – that may also help you lose weight. Just pick up these ingredients from the store:3
2 large red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and diced
2 serrano chiles, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 small onion, diced
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup nonfat buttermilk
1/2 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
1/4 cup finely chipped cilantro
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons whipping cream
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Using a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Then add onion, peppers and chiles and cook for three to five minutes, or until the onion is lightly brown. Add paprika, salt and cardamom and continue cooking for another minute or two. Now you can add the pistachios and broth to the pan, stirring until it comes to a boil. At this point, the heat should be reduced to medium-low as the combination simmers for 20 to 25 minutes. Keep the pan covered and stir occasionally. Once the peppers are fork-tender, you can remove from the heat – allowing five minutes to cool.
Transfer your soup mixture to a blender and puree until it is smooth. Then, you can return the liquid to your pan. After whisking the buttermilk and cream together in a separate bowl, stir the combination into the soup. The pan should be placed over low heat until warmed to an edible temperature. Before serving, sprinkle with cilantro.
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1 The Journal of Clinical Investigation, "Recruited brown adipose tissues as an antiobesity agent in humans" August 1, 2013
2 LiveScience, "Cold temperatures and chili peppers help burn fat" October 17, 2013
3 EatingWell magazine, "Paprika & red pepper soup with pistachio puree" November/December 2010