Now more than ever, finding ways to live a healthy and happy life have become insurmountable. Spice lovers rejoice as numerous studies have found that eating hot chilli peppers can help with a myriad of health problems. From helping you lose weight, protecting against heart attacks and certain cancers and to boosting longevity, chilli peppers in a meal could be your ticket to a long and healthy life.
Eating chilli peppers has been associated with a reduced risk of mortality in several studies, and new research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology bolsters previous findings.
The research, conducted in Italy, compared the risk of death among 23,000 people and divided them into two groups – those who ate chilli and those who didn’t.
Participants’ health status and eating habits were monitored over eight years, and researchers found that the risk of dying from a heart attack was 40 percent lower among those eating chilli peppers at least four times per week.
Scientists have found the health benefits of consuming spices, including their ability to increase the breakdown of fats in certain tissues as well as inhibit the effects of some bacteria and fungi.
An observational study released by medical researchers at the University of Vermont has found an inverse relationship between the consumption of red-hot chilli peppers and mortality.
Researchers Mustafa Chopan and Benjamin Littenberg established the correlation between eating chilli and longevity by analysing the data of the US National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey, in which a representative sample of adults were monitored for their diet and lifestyle habits between 1988 and 1994.
From the number of deaths recorded in the 16,179-person sample, total mortality for participants who consumed hot red chilli peppers was found to be 22 per cent compared to 34 percent for those who did not.
Hot chilli peppers contain nutrients including B, C and pro-A vitamins.
Researchers believe an active ingredient called capsaicin protects against both heart disease and obesity.
“While the jury’s still out on whether or not spicy foods can actually give us a metabolic boost, there’s no doubt that eating spicy foods may also have a weight loss benefit,” says Jaclyn London, Nutrition Director.
“That’s because when we consume foods with heat, the natural tendency is to slow down while we eat, helping us stay in touch with satiety signals and really stop when we’re full — not stuffed.”
Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer and reduce life mortality.
Lab studies have shown capsaicin has strong anti-cancer properties and is capable of killing over 40 types of cancer cells without harming normal cells.
Capsaicin has been shown to fight cancer by stopping the growth and division of cancer cells, slowing the formation of new blood vessels around cancer tumours, and preventing cancer from spreading to other areas of the body.
Health experts have found that eating 5g of chilli peppers before a high-carb meal has been shown to help stabilise blood sugars and prevent large spikes that occur after meals.
Capsaicin has also been shown to lower cholesterol thereby reducing the risk of developing heart problems or a stroke.
Other spicy foods that contain capsaicin are jalapeño peppers and cayenne peppers.