Eating Chili Peppers Might Elongate Your Life, Study Says No! Not Those Peppers!

They say variety is the spice of life, but spice just might be the secret to longevity. The American Heart Association recently shared information from a study about how chili pepper consumption can influence health.

What the study found was that other than pack a powerful mouthful of heat, chili peppers have many positive side-effects. They act as anti-inflammatories and antioxidants as well as regulate glucose and may help protect against cancer.

How do researchers know? Because they reviewed 4,728 chili pepper-related studies as well as the health records of 570,000 people from the U.S., China, Italy and Iran who ate peppers often. They then compared this information to people who ate little to no chili peppers (Midwesterners, we assume). They concluded that people who pop peppers on the regular have a 26 percent reduction in cardiovascular deaths, a 23 percent reduction in cancer deaths, and a 25 percent reduction in deaths from any cause overall.

“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,” said senior author and cardiologist Bo Xu. “It highlights that dietary factors may play an important role in overall health.”

Sounds like the perfect excuse to spice it up tonight, right? But not so fast. More information is needed. The study didn’t account for the type of chili pepper or the amount consumed. There are dozens of types of chili peppers, all with varying heat ratios; how they individually affect the body remains to be seen.

Until researchers know more, there’s no harm in turning up the heat on your favorite foods, but there’s no need to make every meal into an episode of Hot Ones.

Cover Photo: Aleksandr Zubkov (Getty Images)

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