Spicy food is good for you. Earlier studies have associated chili pepper with a range of health benefits, and a new study provides evidence that it may even help extend your life.
Scientists at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont found that consuming red chili pepper is linked to a 13-percent decrease in the risk of death. The lower mortality rate was primarily due to a reduced incidence of fatalities from heart disease and stroke. Findings were based on data collected on more than 16,000 Americans over a course of 23 years.
Why Is Red Chili Pepper Beneficial?
“Although the mechanism by which peppers could delay mortality is far from certain, Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels, which are primary receptors for pungent agents such as capsaicin (the principal component in chili peppers), may in part be responsible for the observed relationship,” said the study authors.
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While all the factors that produce the increased longevity are yet to be discovered, several known benefits of capsaicin may play a role. The compound enhances fat breakdown and storage for energy in different organs, which protects against high cholesterol, plaque buildup and obesity. This action reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as helps stop tumor growth. The authors add that it also may have antimicrobial properties that improve the health of the bacterial community in the gut.
Results Supported by Earlier Research
Two earlier studies link hot peppers to longevity, note the researchers. A 2009 study in India found the consumption of spice was inversely related to cancer, and a 2015 study in China showed the consumption of hot, spicy food was inversely related to deaths from all causes.
“Because our study adds to the generalizability of previous findings, chili pepper – or even spicy food – consumption may become a dietary recommendation and/or fuel further research in the form of clinical trials,” said coauthor Mustafa Chopan.
The authors have called for further investigations into the effects of other spices and subtypes of chili peppers. “Such evidence may lead to new insights into the relationships between diet and health, updated dietary recommendations, and the development of new therapies,” they said. The study was published in PLoS ONE.
In view of the findings, keep the bottle of hot sauce on the table, and add a dash of red pepper to your recipes. The extra spice will perk up the flavor of your food and boost your health.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.