People who eat chilli peppers are at lower risk of cardiovascular and cancer mortality, suggests study

Chillies are a food source so packed with nutrients - micronutrients in particular - that studies have highlighted their many health benefits for years

Myupchar November 10, 2020 14:57:31 IST
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People who eat chilli peppers are at lower risk of cardiovascular and cancer mortality, suggests study

Representational image. Wikimedia Commons

Diet and nutrition play a big role in maintaining your health and this is a fact that cannot be denied. The idea that selecting the right foods to eat and avoiding those that are not beneficial is equally necessary to maintain good health and avoid diseases is undebatable. Nutritionists and health practitioners across the world highlight the necessity of both micronutrients and macronutrients from food sources so that your body can absorb them and run the way it’s supposed to.

Chilli peppers, more commonly known as chillies, are a food source so packed with nutrients - micronutrients in particular - that studies have highlighted their many health benefits for years. A 2018 study published in Food Science & Nutrition said that chilli peppers - which are packed with dietary fiber, vitamins A, B6, C and K1, minerals like potassium and copper and powerful phytochemicals like capsaicin, capsanthin, lutein and ferulic acid - can play a role in minimizing nutritional deficiencies.

The hot benefits of chilli peppers

The only problem with increasing the intake of chilli peppers is owed to the fact that they are hot (spicy), thanks to the capsaicin present in them. But despite being hot and giving that burning sensation when there’s too much used in food, chilli peppers have immense health benefits to impart. A study published in PloS One in 2017 suggests that there is an inverse relationship between chilli pepper consumption and all-cause mortality - meaning that adults who ate chilli peppers had a 13% lower risk of death compared to those who didn’t.

Research shows that eating chillies is associated with lower risks of many chronic ailments like diabetes and heart disease. Another study published in Bioscience Reports in 2017 suggests that chilli pepper consumption boosts metabolism, suppresses excess calorie intake, improves micronutrient status and therefore helps lose weight. This study says that chilli peppers can be used to reduce the risks of obesity and weight gain and may even be a potential therapeutic method for those already suffering from obesity.

Can chilli peppers help you live longer?

A new study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2020 not only highlights the above-mentioned benefits of eating chilli peppers but also suggests that consumption of chilli peppers can increase longevity, particularly by cutting your risks of cardiovascular and cancer mortality. The researchers screened 4,729 studies from five global health databases - Ovid, Cochrane, Medline, Embase and Scopus - and analysed all available data on chilli pepper consumption via the health and dietary records of 570,000 participants spread across the United States, Italy, China and Iran.

The researchers compared the health records of those who consumed chilli peppers to those who rarely or never ate any chilli peppers and found that people in the former group had better health outcomes. People who consumed chillies, the study noted, had a 26% relative reduction in cardiovascular mortality, 23% relative reduction in cancer mortality and a 25% relative reduction in all-cause mortality. The study concludes that consuming chilli peppers is likely to help you live longer.

One of the key limitations of the study, however, is that the type and amount of chilli peppers consumed by the people who had reduced mortality risks varied greatly - which is not surprising given the fact that the four countries mentioned above have very different food cultures and agricultural produce. But despite this limitation, the fact remains that eating chilli peppers has better health outcomes in the long run than not eating them.

For more information, read our article on Green chillies

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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