Some good news for lovers of spice, with new research finding people who eat chilli may live longer. Previous research has found chilli to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer benefits, which according to Science Daily, is down to the regulating effect of capsaicin — the compound that also gives chilli its spice.
New research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2020 this week revealed that individuals who consume chilli have a significantly reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or cancer.
Researchers looked at 4,729 studies from five leading global health databases to analyse the effects of chilli, which included more than 570,000 individuals in the United States, China and Iran, Science Daily reported.
Comparing individuals who rarely or never ate chilli alongside those who regularly consume it, researchers found those who eat the spicy fruit (yes, it’s a fruit!) were found to have a 26% relative reduction in cardiovascular mortality as well as a 23% relative reduction in cancer mortality and 25% relative reduction in all-cause mortality.
“We were surprised to find that in these previously published studies, regular consumption of chilli pepper was associated with an overall risk-reduction of all-cause, CVD and cancer mortality. It highlights that dietary factors may play an important role in overall health,” said senior author Bo Xu, M.D., cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic’s Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute in Cleveland, Ohio.
“The exact reasons and mechanisms that might explain our findings, though, are currently unknown. Therefore, it is impossible to conclusively say that eating more chilli pepper can prolong life and reduce deaths, especially from cardiovascular factors or cancer. More research, especially evidence from randomized controlled studies, is needed to confirm these preliminary findings.”
Despite these promising results, there are limitations to this study, which is to be expected. One such flaw is that the amount and type of chilli pepper consumed across the participants was variable across the studies, so researchers can’t exactly draw conclusions as to how much chilli should be consumed or how often as well as the particular variety.
But, when consumed alongside a healthy lifestyle, you might also be able to reap the life-lengthening effects of chilli.