Regularly eating chile peppers lowers risk of cardiovascular disease, new study reveals
The study analyzed more than 20,000 Italians and their estimated intake of chile peppers.
Regularly eating chile peppers is linked to a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, according to a new study of Italian adults. But experts suggest the findings don’t necessarily mean you should drastically spice up your diet.
The research, published in the December issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of the American College of Cardiology, was prompted by a lack of research on the traditional Mediterranean diet’s regular inclusion of chile peppers.
The study analyzed more than 20,000 Italians and their estimated intake of chile peppers; it found a link between regularly eating peppers and a lower risk of death, including deaths caused by heart disease.
It’s not the first time a study has linked chile pepper consumption with longer life. University of Vermont researchers found people who reported eating hot red chile peppers had a 13% reduced risk of death, according to a report in 2017.
Still, several experts pointed out limitations of the new study and offered explanations for the results.
A registered dietitian told CNN the health benefits may come from chiles often being included in diets rich in fresh foods.
The health benefits are probably small, and the chile’s true health benefit may be as a tasty ingredient that ”makes eating other healthy foods more pleasurable,” Duane Mellor, a teaching fellow at Aston Medical School in Birmingham, U.K., told the network.
The study’s lead author, Marialaura Bonaccio, told CNN the research had found chile peppers’ health benefits were observed independently of diet — whether a person ate a healthy diet or less healthy diet, eating chile peppers appeared to help extend their life.
Should you start spicing up your diet for the health benefits? That’s not entirely clear.
Forbes noted at least one study on mice raised questions about spicy foods’ connection with an increased risk of cancer. The publication pointed out observational studies such as this one cannot prove cause-and-effect, indicating that more research may be needed.
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