Chili Pepper Fans: Take Note
Several types of hot peppers have been shown to have positive health benefits – the capsaicin they contain (it’s the compound that supplies their heat) stimulates metabolism and circulation, helps lower blood pressure, inhibits pain perception and may reduce inflammation. Now research suggests that eating hot red chili peppers can also help reduce the risk of death from heart disease and stroke. An investigation from the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont found a 13 percent reduction in mortality among those who reported regular consumption of chili peppers. These pepper enthusiasts 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” than study subjects who didn’t eat red chili peppers. The researchers used data from 16,179 Americans collected in a national nutrition survey and followed participants for up to 23 years. Similar findings emerged from a 2015 study in China, which also reported a link between chili pepper consumption and a lower risk of death. Because the Larner College research was observational, it doesn’t prove that chili peppers were responsible for the lower risk of early death seen among those who consumed them.
Mustafa Chopan and Benjamin Littenberg, “The Association of Hot Red Chili Pepper Consumption and Mortality: A Large Population-Based Cohort Study.” PLOS ONE, January 9, 2017; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0169876
Also in this week’s bulletin: