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Spicy Food Could Prolong Life

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A new study suggests that eating hot red chili peppers is linked to a 13% drop in overall mortality, specifically due to heart disease or stroke.

Researchers at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermony analyzed national health and nutritional data from over 16,000 Americans over 23 years for their research. Only one other study, done in China in 2015, has previously examined how chili peppers can help prolong life, reports.

According to this study, the consumption of chili peppers stayed death among regular eaters. The most prolific consumers tended to be “younger, male, white, Mexican-American, married, and to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and consume more vegetables and meats.”

Those who ate hot chili peppers turned out to have lower HDL-cholesterol levels.

They also tended to be from lower income families and had less education compared to those who did not eat the spice often.

While the researchers were unable to clearly explain why chili might delay an early death, they believe it has something to do with capsaicin – the main component in chili peppers – and how it affects the human body’s Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels.

TRP channels are thought to act as tiny thermometers, used to sense hot or cold. They are generally activated by ingredients found in common spices such as garlic, chili pepper and wasabi.

Mustafa Chopan and Benjamin Littenberg, co-authors on the study, say that capsaicin in chili peppers might play a role in cellular and molecular functions that prevent obesity and temper blood flow to the heart. Capsaicin also has antimicrobial properties that may affect a consumer indirectly by changing the composition of gut microbiota.

Chopan says, “Because our study adds to previous findings, chilli pepper – or even spicy food – consumption may become a dietary recommendation and/or fuel further research in the form of clinical trials.”

The study was published in PLoS ONE.

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