fThose who want to live longer may want to include some spicy food in their diet. Findings of a new study have revealed that eating hot red chili peppers regularly may help people live longer.

Reduced Mortality Risk With Regular Consumption Of Chili Pepper

Researchers from Larner College of Medicine at University of Vermont have found that consuming chili peppers regularly is associated with a reduction in mortality risk primarily in deaths caused by heart disease and stroke.

For the new study published in the journal PLoS ONE, researchers looked at the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey data of more than 16,000 Americans.

By analyzing the mortality rate and the causes of death of the participants over an average follow-up of 18.9 years, the researchers found that those who ate red chili peppers regularly had 13 percent reduced mortality risk especially from heart attack and strokes compared with those who did not eat the spicy food. As of 2013, stroke and heart disease belong to the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States.

Strengthens Earlier Study On Chili Pepper Consumption And Mortality Risk

The findings corroborated with the results of a 2015 study conducted by researchers in China. The research examined chili pepper consumption and its link to reduction in mortality and involved 199,293 men and 288,082 women who were between 30 and 79 years old at the start of the study.

The findings revealed that habitual consumption of spicy food was inversely associated with mortality independent of other risk factors of death.

"In this large prospective study, we observed an inverse relationship between hot red chili pepper consumption and all-cause mortality, after adjusting for potential confounders," study researchers Mustafa Chopan and Benjamin Littenberg, from the University of Vermont, who conducted the new study wrote.

"These results add to the literature by corroborating the main results of an earlier study. They are distinct in that they are drawn from a different population and thus support the generalizability of the protective effects of hot red chili peppers."

Capsaicin In Chili Peppers

Peppers and spices have long been believed to be beneficial in the treatment of diseases but it is not clear what is behind the association between regular consumption of chili peppers and reduced mortality risk.

The researchers, however, think that the ingredients found in peppers particularly capsaicin could be responsible for the link. Capsaicin, which makes chilies hot, is believed to play a role in molecular and cellular mechanisms that prevent obesity and regulate coronary blood flow. It also has antimicrobial properties.

Capsaicin And Heart Disease-Causing Bad Cholesterol

In a 2012 animal study, findings suggested that the substance helps break "bad" cholesterol clogged up in the arteries while leaving behind the "good" cholesterol. The so-called bad cholesterol is known to cause heart diseases.

"Because our study adds to the generalizability of previous findings, chili pepper - or even spicy food - consumption may become a dietary recommendation and/or fuel further research in the form of clinical trials," said Chopan.

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