Consuming Spicy Food May Help You Live Longer, Study Claims

By Lisa Franchi on January 26, 2017

Love spicy food? More than satisfying your taste buds, adding hot chilli peppers in your meals may also help you live longer, new study found.  

In particular, consumption of spicy foods has been linked to 13 per cent reduction in mortality risk caused by heart disease or stroke.

For the study, researchers from Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont followed and collected data from more than 16,000 Americans for up to 23 years. They examined the baseline characteristics of the participants according to hot red chili pepper consumption. The researchers found that consumers of hot red chili peppers tended to be "younger, male, white, Mexican-American, married, and to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and consume more vegetables and meats . . . had lower HDL-cholesterol, lower income, and less education," in comparison to participants who did not consume red chili peppers. They examined data from a median follow-up of 18.9 years and observed the number of deaths and then analysed specific causes of death.

"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," the study authors said.

According to them, there are some possible explanations behind the health benefits of chilli peppers. One is capsaicin – the main compound in hot chilli peppers that give them their spicy taste. Researchers say “it is believed to play a role in cellular and molecular mechanisms that prevent obesity and modulate coronary blood flow, and also possesses antimicrobial properties that "may indirectly affect the host by altering the gut microbiota."

"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,"

The new findings were published in the journal Plos One.

Source of this article:

The Association of Hot Red Chili Pepper Consumption and Mortality: A Large Population-Based Cohort Study

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