According to their findings, consumers who eat higher amounts of chili peppers tend to have longer lives and a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer.
“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 researcher Dr. Bo Xu. “It highlights that dietary factors may play an important role in overall health.”
Adding spice, improving health
To understand how chili peppers could yield better health outcomes, the researchers analyzed over 4,700 studies that included dietary records from over 570,000 people from four countries: Iran, Italy, the U.S., and China. The researchers were primarily concerned with looking at the health differences between those who regularly consumed chili peppers and those who didn’t.
Ultimately, the researchers learned that those who favored the spicy food had better health outcomes than those who didn’t. The study revealed that the risk of death from any cause was 25 percent lower for those who regularly consumed chili peppers.
When looking at the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer, the researchers discovered that eating chili peppers was linked with a 26 percent lower risk and 23 percent lower risk, respectively. These findings are important because recent studies have shown how both cardiovascular disease and cancer risk can be affected by consumers’ diets.
While the researchers are unsure why a relationship exists between chili peppers and risk of death, they plan to do more work to better understand how consumers can use their diets to their advantage.
“The exact reasons and mechanisms that might explain our findings, though, are currently unknown,” Dr. Xu said. “Therefore, it is impossible to conclusively say that eating more chili pepper can prolong life and reduce deaths, especially from cardiovascular factors or cancer. More research, especially evidence from randomized controlled studies, is needed to confirm these preliminary findings.”