New research brings some good news for lovers of spicy foods, after finding that eating hot red chili peppers might help to extend lifespan.
A study of more than 16,000 people in the United States revealed that individuals who consumed red chili peppers had a lower risk of death from all causes over an average of 18 years than those who did not eat the spicy food.
Reduced Mortality Risk With Regular Consumption Of Chili Pepper
Researchers from Larner College of Medicine at University of Vermont have found that consuming chili peppers regularly is associated with a reduction in mortality risk primarily in deaths caused by heart disease and stroke.
Chili peppers are the fruits of the Capsicum plant, which belongs to the nightshade family. There are many types of chili pepper, all of which have different heat levels.
In hot peppers, such as jalapeños, the fiery flavor comes from a compound called capsaicin. Studies have suggested that this compound can offer a wealth of health benefits.
the available data suggested that hot red chili pepper consumption was most strongly associated with a reduced risk of death from vascular diseases, such as heart disease and stroke.
While the researchers are unable the pinpoint the precise mechanisms by which red chili peppers might extend lifespan, the team says that it is likely down to capsaicin, which activities transient receptor potential (TRP) channels.
“Activation of TRP vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) appears to stimulate cellular mechanisms against obesity, by altering mediators of lipid catabolism and thermogenesis,” the researchers explain. “Protection against obesity leads to decreased risk of cardiovascular, metabolic, and lung diseases.”
“Capsaicin may also defend against heart disease via a TRP-mediated modulation of coronary blood flow,” they add.
New research ‘strengthens generalizability’ of previous findings
Overall, the team says that these latest findings support those of the 2015 study, linking spicy food intake to reduced risk of death by showing “a significant decrease in mortality associated with hot red chili pepper consumption.”
However, Chopan and Littenberg note that the earlier study was only conducted in Chinese adults, so the new research “strengthens the generalizability” of those findings.
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