Our diets can play a key role in longevity. But as it turns out, living longer may be as simple as adding one spicy ingredient to our diets. When we eat chili peppers, we may see our risk of several health problems drop dramatically. Let’s take a look at the connection between chili peppers and adding more years to our lives.
Chili peppers contain capsaicin, which may have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Recent studies have shown that these peppers may also reduce oxidant problems, stabilize glucose, and lower cancer risk. It’s the capsaicin that makes chili peppers such a potentially good choice for living longer.
When capsaicin enters the body, it appears to reduce various health issues. However, the exact reason behind that effect isn’t yet known. In short, researchers don’t really know why capsaicin seems to provide the protective effect. They just know that studies indicate the value of this compound for better health.
This question is difficult for researchers to answer because they aren’t willing to specify how many chili peppers constitute the “right” amount for health. But other information shows that 2 to 6 milligrams of capsaicin may be enough to offer some health benefits without causing harm.
For people who can’t eat chili peppers, there are supplements and other ways to get capsaicin, as well. Chilis do include other nutrients, also. But, overall, researchers have not yet specified how much chili pepper intake they recommend people include in their diets. Regular consumption does seem to be an important component, however. Consistency is always key, isn't it?
According to studies, people who consumed chili peppers regularly had a 26% reduction in cardiovascular disease mortality, a 23% reduction in cancer deaths, and a 25% reduction in death from any cause. The same group of studies also showed that chili pepper consumption might stabilize blood sugars, reducing the risk of diabetes which can itself contribute to better health and lowering risk factors.
Another study, which looked at the role of capsaicin in chronic disease, indicated that chili peppers might also help fight arthritis, neuropathic pain, and gastrointestinal disorders, among other conditions. The capsaicin in these peppers may be valuable in treating many medical conditions, but more research is needed.
The studies detailing these findings were only preliminary, which means that much more examination is needed before chili peppers may become a recommended part of a person’s diet. Researchers would need to know more about the types of peppers, the number eaten, and other facets of study participants’ lifestyles. All these details might matter in determining efficacy.
Because the studies didn’t control for all of those variables, the researchers can’t definitively say whether the capsaicin in the chili peppers reduced study participants’ health risks or if there was some other compound in the peppers at play. Still, it’s clear that there seems to be some correlative health benefits from choosing to eat chili peppers frequently.
Time will tell whether the study was accurate or whether there are other factors at play. But while we wait, people who like chili peppers may want to continue to enjoy them in a more deliberate way. And people who haven’t been eating them might want to consider giving them a try.
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