Chili Peppers May Help Us Live Longer

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Attention all spicy food lovers (and those of you looking to add years to your life)!

New research findings seem very promising for lovers of all things spicy. I know, I know, I’m as shocked as you are to hear of good news in 2020, but it’s true! 

Preliminary research has been presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2020 that makes claims regarding chili peppers that could rank them extremely high on the list of superfoods for this newfound benefit. 

Chili peppers have long been known to have multiple health benefits, but recent studies have shown that they may actually add years to your life! 

Here we’ll take a look at a few health benefits of chili peppers and detail these new “life-extending” findings…

 
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General Health Benefits Of Chili Peppers

The main plant compound in chili peppers is capsaicin. This is what gives the pepper its spicy or “hot” flavor. 

And, aside from flavor, capsaicin also boasts some powerful health benefits.

Weight Loss
Capsaicin works to aid in your weight loss efforts primarily by boosting metabolism. 

It increases both body temperature and oxygen consumption to aid in your body’s ability to burn calories. 

Regular capsaicin consumption has shown to increase fat burning and promote a calorie deficit, resulting in weight loss. 

Fights Infection
Chili peppers are loaded with vitamin C, containing 108% of the daily requirement per tablespoon. 

Vitamin C is a vital aid in your body’s ability to fight infections. It assists in both the production and function of white blood cells and helps your body produce antibodies.

Vitamin C also helps your body produce needed proteins within your skin that can aid in wound healing and prevent infection. 

And, it is greatly used by your adrenal glands as they respond to stresses, like illness. 

Anti-Inflammatory
Capsaicin is known to act as an antioxidant, protecting your body on the cellular level by fighting against free radical damage. 

In the intestinal tract, or the gut, capsaicin attaches to receptors which causes a chemical to be made (known as anandamide). 

Studies have shown that this chemical actually works to reduce inflammation within the gut. 

Lowers Cholesterol
Cayenne peppers have long been known to help prevent heart attack and stroke due to their ability to raise good cholesterol, lower bad cholesterol, and prevent blood from clotting. 

Regulates Blood Sugar
Studies show capsaicin to be helpful at regulating blood sugar levels within the body by making your cells more sensitive to insulin.

 

Eating Chili Peppers May Increase Lifespan

Cue the drumroll…

Some of the more common health benefits of chili peppers that we’ve listed above now seem to pale in comparison to recent preliminary findings. 

In fact, this research suggests that regularly consuming chili peppers can reduce all causes of death by up to 25%! 

Research from 4 large international studies looked at the dietary and health records of more than half a million people from all over the world.

Researchers analyzed two types of people, those who regularly consumed chili peppers, and those who rarely or never ate them. 

First, many of the benefits that we listed above (and more) were again proven with these analyses: chili peppers are anti-inflammatory, contain helpful antioxidants, combat cancer, and regulate blood sugar. 

Secondly, to add to those findings: compared to those individuals who did not eat chili peppers, those who did consume these peppers:

  • Reduced their risk of death due to cardiovascular disease by 26%
  • Reduced their risk of death due to cancer by 23%
  • Reduced their risk of death from all causes of mortality by 25%

These new results have nearly doubled past findings that proved chili pepper consumption to lower the above risks by an average of 13%. 

Though some limitations on the study were cited, which we’ll detail in a moment, these findings do seem consistent with the benefits that capsaicin offers to the human body. 

Consider: 

  • The benefits of capsaicin in regards to supporting healthy cholesterol levels, preventing blood clotting, and aiding in weight loss (or weight management) would be consistent with the findings concerning the lowered risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
  • The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits would fall directly in line with the results of the research showing a reduced risk of death from cancer. 
  • The role of antioxidants in fighting oxidative stress within the body combined with capsaicin’s role in inflammation reduction, infection fighting, and weight management would all fall in line with the findings regarding chili pepper consumption reducing the risk of death from all causes of mortality. 
 

Limitations

While this research looks very promising, there are a few kinks that still need to be ironed out at this point. 

The research as of now lacks evidence from a randomized controlled study to confirm the findings. 

This study also currently fails to identify the specific types of chili peppers best for achieving such results. 

The findings of this research also fail to provide a reason for why or how these benefits exist. 

 

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