Here is the scenario: I am in my kitchen with friends, plop down on a stool with a freshly cooked meal in front of me.  I go right ahead and blissfully spill (not sprinkle) spicy red pepper flakes onto my plate and freshly made meal - yum.  My food is soon covered in spice and with a knife and fork I dig in. Silence suddenly takes over the room and I look up to see my friend's jaw drop and I hear "Oh my god."  

Just as I am gloriously ready to stuff my face, I am stopped. My friends sit down and one places a hand on my shoulder, I know things are about to get serious.  I know they have been planning this a while and gently begin a lecture with, "You are going to burn off your taste buds."  My gullible little self begins to think maybe they are right.  Maybe this red pepper, jalapeno, sriracha hysteria needs to come to a halt.

After some google searches, (because google is ALWAYS right), I learned you can't burn off your taste buds!  Physical heat may destroy them, but the joy of red pepper flakes or a jalapeno is a psychological reaction - one which everyone should partake in.

NO SIR, it can't.

1. Sick of Being Sick??

Ew, referring to the backed up mucus in your system.  Tea and hot soup aren't doing the trick?  Adding some spice may be just what you need.  Perhaps you're are sensitive to spice and spicy foods make your nose run or your eyes water.  Then you are the perfect culprit for spicy foods act as a natural decongestant.  Next time you're sick try eating some chili peppers or wasabi and wait for the magic to help you breathe again.  

2. Shed Some Lbs.

You're so close to your goal weight and need a little something to top you over.  Juice cleanses don't work, you try being gluten free, then cut off dairy, but are still not seeing results! Add some spice to your life and you may undergo the transformation into that beach bod over-night!  Okay, maybe not over-night, but many studies prove that spices like red chili pepper, ginger, and black pepper heat up our bodies.  Check out number 4 in this article, "Five Foods to Add to Your Diet."  When our bodies heat up, our basal metabolic rate rises!  These means more calories are being burned up (sign me up please)!

3. Alternative to Salt

salt, ice, sweet, candy
Aakanksha Joshi

Adding salt to any meal seems unnecessary in this day and age.  Although salt is crucial for our well-being, it is found in almost everything we eat.  Therefore when you're cooking and looking for a little extra flavor but don't want to go overboard with the salt, go ahead and dump some spice into the pot.  Here are two different spices that may excite your taste buds.

Garam Masala.  This is a spice from India where garam means "hot" and masala means "spice blend."

coffee, chocolate, relish, cinnamon, sweet, condiment, garam masala, herb, cumin
Ashleigh Monaco

Try garam masala in coffee, on popcorn, apples, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, cauliflower, chicken, shortbread - you get it, it can be used for anything your heart desires.

Jerk seasoning.  The key ingredient is allspice, try using red chile flakes instead of fresh peppers for an extra kick. Go ahead and make Jamaican Jerk Paella

paella, pepper
Photo courtesy of wwwano3o on Instagram

4. Longevity and Cancer Prevention

The Spice Girls went through their famous debut.  However, their time in pop culture has come to an end.  Or has it?  Their music lives on forever; cmon the song "Wannabe" will never die.  Forbes just shared a recent study that shows eating spicy food (generally in the form of chili peppers) least once a week has lessened the risk of death by reducing diseases like cancer and ischemic heart disease.