A team of researchers from University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine discovered that chili peppers and spicy foods can actually contribute to long, happy lives. For the course of their study, the researchers associated spicy foods consumption with a 13 percent lower risk of succumbing to heart-related diseases or strokes. The results, as well as more details of the survey, have been published in the medical journal PLoS ONE.
Surprisingly enough, only one similar study was conducted on chili peppers and spicy foods in relation to longer lifespans. In 2015, a team of Chinese researchers analyzed the compounds in chili peppers that delay death in those who regularly consume the spicy fruit.
Over the course of 23 years, the scientists analyzed the eating habits of more than 16,000 American subjects and found a direct link between spicy foods consumption and increased lifespan. Moreover, the researchers found that people with a tendency towards spicy foods were young Mexican-Americans, in particular, married, who also consumed alcohol and smoked cigarettes. Furthermore, it seemed that these individuals also had more meat and more vegetables in their diets than their counterparts who did not consume chili peppers or other spicy foods.
The Link Between Chili Peppers and Longer Lifespans
Unfortunately, at this point, researchers are still investigating what exactly leads to longer lives for people who enjoy spicy foods. However, one theory points to the capsaicin’s effect on Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels in the human body. According to the scientists, these channels are in charge of mediating sensations like warmth, hotness, pain, coldness, as well as a variety of tastes. Furthermore, the researchers say that capsaicin also has a direct impact on vision and pressure, as well.
Moreover, chili peppers are not the only foods that contain the magic ingredient. Capsaicin is present in garlic and wasabi, as well. Benjamin Littenberg and Mustafa Chopan, the study authors, believe that apart from the antimicrobial properties, capsaicin found in chili peppers plays an important role in certain cellular and molecular mechanisms that modulate coronary blood flow and even prevent obesity.
Ultimately, they believe chili peppers, or spicy foods, in general, will become dietary recommendations in the near future.
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