Are Chili Peppers the Spice of Life?

Health & Wellness, Heart Health

A new study presented at the American Heart Association Annual Scientific Sessions (conducted virtually in 2020), found that consuming chili peppers on a regular basis was associated with ~25% improvement in heart and overall survival when compared to non-or rare consumers of this spice. Although the study does not prove cause and effect, it extends prior observations suggesting that chili pepper may be the proverbial spice for a healthy life. Below are several reasons why you should consider adding a chili pepper (or 2) to your meals.

  1. Chili Peppers burn calories: Chili peppers contain the chemical capsaicin that increases metabolism thereby promoting weight loss and reduced waist size based on a study conducted at the University of Maryland.
  2. Chili Peppers reduce blood pressure: Chili peppers activate a specific family member of protein receptors (TRPs) to release the chemical nitric oxide, resulting in blood vessel relaxation and decreased blood pressure.
  3. Capsaicin provides pain relief: When applied topically, capsaicin desensitizes nerves/nerve endings and provides relief for various conditions such as peripheral neuropathy. Because chronic pain increases emotional stress that in turn raises cardiac risk, pain relief is an important way to maintain good heart health.

Michael Miller, MD is Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland USA.  His latest book is  “Heal Your Heart: The Positive Emotions Prescription...” published by Penguin Random House.

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