Can eating chili peppers help you live longer?


The virtues of chili peppers have been touted for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Numerous traces written in herbal medicine report the supposed beneficial effects of peppers on health. And recently, a team of American researchers showed that chilli consumption was associated with a longer lifespan and a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease or cancer. Although precise data on the amount or frequency of this consumption have not yet been specified, this reinforces the already known benefits of chili.

People who consume red chili peppers may live longer and have a significantly reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or cancer, according to preliminary research to be presented at the 2020 scientific sessions of theAmerican Heart Association.

Previous studies have shown that the consumption of chili peppers has an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer and blood sugar regulating effect due to capsaicin, which gives the chili its characteristic mild to intense spiciness when consumed. To analyze the effects of chili pepper on all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease, the researchers looked at 4,729 studies from five major global health databases (Ovid, Cochrane, Medline, Embase, and Scopus).

An overall reduction in the risk of mortality

Their final analysis compiles four large studies that included results for participants with data on chili consumption. Health and nutrition records of more than 570,000 people in the United States, Italy, China and Iran were used to compare the results of those who ate red pepper with those who rarely or never ate it. . Compared to people who rarely or never ate chili, the analysis found that those who ate chili had:

  • a relative reduction of 26% in mortality from cardiovascular disease
  • a relative reduction of 23% in cancer mortality
  • a relative reduction of 25% in mortality from all causes
chilli death rate
A 2019 study published in the journal JACC has already highlighted the reduction in the mortality rate for various diseases depending on the consumption of peppers. Credits: Marialaura Bonaccio et al. 2019

We were surprised to find that in these previously published studies, regular chili pepper consumption was associated with an overall reduction in the risk of all-cause death, cardiovascular disease, and cancer mortality. This highlights that dietary factors can play an important role in overall health. Explains Bo Xu, a cardiologist at the Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute in Cleveland.

More research is needed

The exact reasons and mechanisms that could explain our results, however, are currently unknown. Therefore, it is impossible to definitively state that eating more chili peppers can prolong life and reduce deaths, especially from cardiovascular factors or cancer. More research, particularly evidence from randomized controlled trials, is needed to confirm these preliminary findings Xu adds.

There are in particular several limitations. All four studies reviewed included limited specific health data on individuals or other factors that may have influenced the results. The amount and type of chili consumed varied between studies, making it difficult to draw conclusions about how much, how often, and what type of chili consumption may be associated with the health benefits. The researchers continue to analyze their data and hope to publish the full results soon.

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