Eating chili peppers can help you live longer, as study reveals

According to a study published in 2019, eating hot peppers increases life expectancy. Maybe it's time to spice things up a bit!

Eating this ingredient will help you live longer, according to study
© Nikola Johnny Mirkovic / Unsplash
Eating this ingredient will help you live longer, according to study

In addition to spicing up the dishes of its fans, chili pepper (Capsicum) has numerous health benefits. Rich in vitamins C, B6 and K, it is also a source of iron, copper and manganese. It promotes weight loss, improves digestion and protects the stomach lining... It also reduces the risk of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

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The list of its therapeutic properties is now growing thanks to a new study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in Decembre 2019. Research has shown that regular consumption of this condiment reduces the risk of death from heart attack or stroke.

Chilli pepper eaters have a lower mortality risk than others

The study was carried out in the Molise region of southern Italy, where chili pepper is a common ingredient - take the penne all'arrabbiata, for example. The risk of death was studied in almost 23,000 participants, some of whom ate the spicy red vegetable, others not. In all, the health and eating habits of the participants were monitored for an average of eight years.

Volunteers who ate chili peppers at least four times a week were found to have a 23% lower risk of all-cause mortality than those who did not. The risk of death from heart attack was reduced by 40%. The risk of death from stroke was more than halved.

Marialaura Bonaccio, lead author of the study and epidemiologist at the Mediterranean Institute of Neurobiology (INMED), talked on the issue in a press release.

An interesting fact is that the protection against mortality risk was independent of the type of diet followed.

In other words, someone may follow a healthy Mediterranean diet, someone else may eat less healthily, but for all of them, chili has a protective effect.

Read more:Here's how drinking coffee could be lowering your chances of dying

Peppers and Italy, a long love story

According to Licia Iacoviello, Director of INMED's Department of Epidemiology and Prevention and professor at the University of Insubria (Italy), the benefits of chilli have been passed on instinctively by Italian food culture.

Chilli is a fundamental element. We see it hanging from Italian balconies, and even represented in jewelry. Over the centuries, beneficial properties of all kinds have been associated with its consumption, mainly on the basis of anecdote or tradition, if not magic.

While the findings do not in any way prove a causal link but an association, the team now plans to investigate the biochemical mechanisms that make chili and its relatives - also containing capsaicin - good for our health.

But for now, lovers of spicy cuisine surely have one more reason to maintain their habit.

Read more:Eating ultra-processed foods like chips and soda could give you this type of cancer, according to study

This article has been translated from Gentside FR.

Sources used:

ScienceDirect: Chili Pepper Consumption and Mortality in Italian Adults

MedicalXPress: Consumption of chili pepper cuts down the risk of death from a heart or cerebral attack

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