Chillies are good for you

Regularly eating chilli peppers could provide previously unrecognised health benefits helping to lengthen people’s lives, a new study suggests.

Chilli eaters may have a “significantly reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or cancer”, according to preliminary research which will be presented this week at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2020.

While previous research has found consuming chillies has an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer and blood-glucose regulating effect due to capsaicin – which gives chilli its characteristic hot taste, the study is the first large scale effort to compare reported consumption of chilli with disease mortality.

In order to assess the effects of chilli pepper on longevity, researchers screened 4,729 studies from five leading global health databases, these were: Ovid, Cochrane, Medline, Embase and Scopus.

These included four large studies which specifically included health outcomes for participants with data on chilli pepper consumption.

This provided the research team with the health and dietary records of more than 570,000 individuals in the United States, Italy, China and Iran, which allowed them to compare the outcomes of those who consumed chillies to those who rarely or never ate them.

Compared to those who “rarely” or “never” ate chillies, the analysis found people who did eat them had:

  • a 26 per cent relative reduction in cardiovascular mortality
  • a 23 per cent relative reduction in cancer mortality
  • a 25 per cent relative reduction in all-cause mortality

“We were surprised to find that in these previously published studies, regular consumption of chili pepper was associated with an overall risk-reduction of all-cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality,” said senior author Bo Xu, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic’s Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute in Cleveland, Ohio.

“It highlights that dietary factors may play an important role in overall health,” he said.

But Dr Xu warned: “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.

This article was written by Harry Cockburn and published in the Independent Newspaper on 9th November 2020

The perfect partner to your grilling needs

Serving up the best in class when it comes to your grilling needs. Take a look at our wide range of offerings by clicking the button below.

Use code "FoodUx10" to get 10% off everything in store
This is default text for notification bar