Eating red hot chili peppers found to reduce death by 13%.
Researchers from the University of Vermont looked at data of over 16,000 Americans and found a 13% lower mortality in those who ate red hot chili peppers, especially when it came to heart disease and stroke. This study was published in the medical journal PLoS ONE.
This is not the first time hot and spicy food has been found to decrease mortality. In December, researchers from Germany found Capsaicin, which gives food their fiery kick, was found to inhibit tumor growth, specifically breast cancer.
In 2015 a study published in the British Medical Journal found those who ate spicy food more than 1 -2 times a week were 14% less likely to die than those who ate spicy food less than once a week.
Both teams of researchers have been looking at how Capsaicin affects Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels, that mediate how we perceive taste, pressure and vision.
In this study, they found that those who ate a diet high in red hot chili peppers were “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.” Lower HDL and smoking could increase one’s heart disease risk so the fact that they had lower mortality due to this dietary addition was significant.
Now diets high in spicy food could worsen one’s heartburn and Gastroesophageal reflux disease and concerns have been raised with spicy food and colon cancer. But more evidence appears to surface that it lowers cancer risk.
But if capsaicin continues to show researchers that it improves cardiovascular health, obesity, and cancer risk, hot chili peppers may become our new superfood.
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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician