If you can handle the heat then chili peppers may be your key to weight loss. Several studies have found that the fiery hot substance in chili peppers known as capsaicin prevents fat cell growth which in turn helps you lose weight.

Capsaicin changes the proteins found in fat causing them to shrink.

Others studies using capsaicin have shown its ability to curb appetites. Hot chili peppers also help speed up your metabolism. People who consumed the spice consistently consumed fewer calories.

The spicier the better. The more spice it has means the more capsaicin it has which leads to more fat and calories being burned. Ripe red ones are usually hotter than green ones. Still, shape is a better indicator of heat than color. Rule of thumb: the smaller, the more heat. Jalapenos, serranos and habaneros are among the hottest and best in aiding weight loss.

Bell peppers are the only members of the capsicum family that are not spicy. However, they don’t lack weight loss properties. Sweet peppers are thermogenic, which means they increase your body heat helping you burn extra calories. They are also low in calories and have a high water and fiber content making you feel full faster and longer.

Bell peppers don’t work as well as their spicy counterparts but are a nice alternative if you don’t feel like the spice or want a little more sweeter taste.

Spice makes you hot and there are several easy ways to add the ingredient into your diet. Simply sprinkle a little chili powder into your meal such as pasta sauces. Or try adding a few crushed red pepper flakes onto your pizza. Add chopped peppers to a salad, the creations are endless when cooking with spices.

Yvonne Nienstadt – nutrition director at the Rancho La Puerta Fitness Resort and Spa in Tecate, Mexico – says that adding a chopped chili or jalapeno pepper to your lunch or dinner will help you burn up to 75 calories per meal.

If you don’t like spicy food you can you can still enjoy the weight loss benefits of capsaicin in a capsule or pill form.

So, add a little spice and shed the pounds by speeding up your metabolism and curbing your appetite.