Eating chili peppers on a regular basis could be the answer to avoiding early death and preventing some cancers, researchers have said.
Findings from four previously published global studies have found that consuming the vegetable reduces the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 26%. It also lowers the risk of cancer mortality by a quarter, when compared to those who never eat chili peppers.
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Originally from Mexico, chili peppers are widely used in many dishes to spice the taste up. There are many different chilis which provide variable spice levels.
Previous research studies have found the ingredient has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer and blood-glucose regulating properties.
But researchers wanted to further investigate what this could mean for long-term health conditions.
Using health and dietary records from more than 570,000 people from the United States, Italy, China and Iran, the research team were able to compare health outcomes of those who regularly indulged in the spicy food to those who rarely ate them.
Senior author Dr Bo Xu, cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic’s Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Institute in Ohio, said: “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, CVD and cancer mortality. It highlights that dietary factors may play an important role in overall health.
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“The exact reasons and mechanisms that might explain our findings, though, are currently unknown. Therefore, it is impossible to conclusively say that eating more chili 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.”