New Study Suggests People Who Regularly Eat Chili Peppers Live Longer

Those who eat the spicy peppers have a "significantly reduced risk" of dying of cardiovascular disease or cancer

chili peppers
The more of these you eat, the longer you may live.
Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Good news for spicy food enthusiasts: New research slated to be presented this week at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2020 event has found that people who regularly eat chili peppers have a “significantly reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or cancer.”

As The Independent notes, this is hardly the first study to tout the health benefits of chilis. Previous research has found that chilis have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer and blood glucose-regulating effects due to the amount of capsaicin they contain. However, this new study is the the “first large scale effort to compare reported consumption of chili with disease mortality.”

To get their data, researchers screened 4,729 studies from five global health databases, providing them with the health and dietary records of more than 570,000 people in the United States, Italy, China and Iran. This allowed them to compare the outcomes of those who regularly ate chilis to those who rarely or never did. They found that compared to those who said they “rarely” or “never” ate chilis, people who did had a 26 percent relative reduction in cardiovascular mortality, a 23 percent relative reduction in cancer mortality and a 25 percent relative reduction in all-cause mortality.

“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, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality,” senior author Dr. Bo Xu, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic’s Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute, said. “It highlights that dietary factors may play an important role in overall health.”

However, Xu cautioned that more research is necessary. “The exact reasons and mechanisms that might explain our findings, though, are currently unknown,” he 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.”

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