A recent study, published in the PLOS (for Public Library of Science) One Journal, has discovered the powerful health benefits of regularly eating chili, which now includes having a direct and positive effect on life-span.
Researchers say that regular chili eaters have a 13% reduced risk of premature death, which means that they could easily outlive those who never eat spicy foods.
What are chilies?
The chili pepper, while commonly thought to be a vegetable, is actually a type of spicy fruit closely related to tomatoes, jalapenos, eggplant, and zucchinis.
They come in a variety of colors, ranging from green to red and yellow and also vary in strength of spiciness. They can be used in a multitude of dishes, including sauces, soups, meat dishes, and salads, and incredibly good for your health.
How does chili help you live longer?
The research team from Vermont University in the US studied the eating habits of 16000 American adults for 23 years, and after further investigation, it was found that chili eaters had a mortality rate of 21.6% compared to 33.6% for non-chili eaters.
When factors such as lifestyle, demographics, and clinical characteristics were considered, the difference increased to 13%, still showing that chili eaters had a 13% lower risk of premature death.
Professor Benjamin Littenberg and medical student Mustafa Chopan said that the lifestyle of the typical person who ate chilies did not contribute to why they lived longer, even though younger married males had the most positive results.
Participants with the lowest risk of mortality were found to eat more vegetables, drink moderate amounts of alcohol, have lower incomes and were less educated, however, chilies were still found to have a direct effect on reducing the risk of death further.
Why is chili so good for you?
Spicy food, such as curry and Mexican food, has been known to be beneficial to health for decades but this is the first study to successfully prove that it had a direct effect on life span.
It found that the most common disease that spicy food helped to prevent was heart disease, which is the number one killer in the world, accounting for more than 17.5 million deaths per year.
Evidence shows that capsicum, the active ingredient found in chilies, has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which is why it helps to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart failure significantly. Chilies have also been found to increase metabolism, which encourages healthy and natural fat loss, especially around cardiovascular risk areas like the stomach.
How many chilies do you need to eat?
“In this large population-based prospective study, the consumption of hot red chili pepper was associated with reduced mortality. Hot red chili peppers may be a beneficial component of the diet”, said Professor Littenberg and his team. This means that including chilies in your diet, whether a single or several chilies per day, would be beneficial to your health.