24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
Fax: (361)578-5500
Regular Hours: M-Fri 8am - 5pm
Every 3rd Thurs of the Month - Extended Hours Until 7 pm

Nutrition
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Get Your '5 a Day' Fruits and Veggies to Live LongerMediterranean Diet Could Keep Aging Brains SharpSwitch to Plant-Based Diet Could Protect Older Women's BrainsAHA News: Lower Your Sodium, and Blood Pressure Will FollowDaily Coffee Tied to Lower Risk for Heart FailureAHA News: Avocados Are a Healthy Option Super Bowl Sunday – and Year-RoundMany U.S. Adults Aren't Getting Healthy Amounts of Fruits, VegetablesWhole Wheat Better for You Than White Bread, Study ConfirmsWhat's the Most Nutritious Way to Juice Your Vegetables?Pandemic May Be Affecting How Parents Feed Their KidsOmega-3s From Fish Might Curb Asthma in Kids, But Genes MatterAHA News: 5 Things Nutrition Experts Want You to Know About New Federal Dietary GuidelinesJust 2% of U.S. Teens Eat Recommended Amount of VeggiesHealthy Eating Could Delay Onset of Parkinson's DiseaseFried Food a Big Factor in Heart Disease, StrokeStrict Low-Carb Diets Could Push Type 2 Diabetes Into Remission, But Effect FadesClimate Change Is Spurring Malnutrition in Kids WorldwidePlant-Based Diet Brings Better 'Microbiome,' Healthier LifeAHA News: Trendy Microgreens Offer Flavor You Can Grow at HomeMediterranean Diet Could Help Stop Prostate Cancer's SpreadWhen Soda Tax Repealed, Soda Sales Rebound: StudyCan 2 Nutrients Lower Your Risk for Parkinson's?AHA News: Ring In the New Year With a 'Mocktail'New Dietary Guidelines for Americans Ignore Recommendations on Sugar, AlcoholWhich Seafood Has the Highest Amount of Microplastics?Could Going Vegetarian Lower Kids' Asthma Risk?1 in 7 Studies in Nutrition Journals Have Food Industry TiesAHA News: Teatime Can Be Good for Your HealthSugary Drinks' Effect on Hormones Could Spur Weight Gain: StudySocial Media Messages Can Lower People's Meat IntakeAHA News: The Best Foods for Brain HealthGet Rid of Red Meat to Help Your Heart: StudyMetabolites From Food Could Affect Your Stroke RiskAHA News: Eating Foods That Promote Inflammation May Worsen Heart FailureCocoa Might Give Your Brain a Boost: StudyAHA News: Teens' Ultra-Processed Diet Puts Their Hearts at RiskMediterranean Diet Cuts Women's Odds for DiabetesJunk Food, Booze Often Star in America's Hit MoviesVegan Diets Tied to Higher Bone Fracture RiskAHA News: Tackling Turkey Day: Strategies for a Healthy FeastAHA News: Inconsistent Mealtimes Linked to Heart RisksHot Discovery: Chili Peppers Might Extend Your LifeAHA News: Is Honey Healthy? How to Make Sure You Don't Get StungNearly 1 in 5 Americans Follows 'Special' DietTips for a Healthier Holiday SeasonDiet Drinks Don't Do Your Heart Any FavorsAHA News: Persimmons Pack Plenty of Nutritional PunchRestricting Promotions of Sweet Foods Cuts Sugar, Not Profits: StudyWhat Foods, Medicines Can Lower Your Colon Cancer Risk?Americans Are Cutting Back on Sugary Drinks
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Wellness and Personal Development

Hot Discovery: Chili Peppers Might Extend Your Life

HealthDay News
by By Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Nov 9th 2020

new article illustration

MONDAY, Nov. 9, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The spice that adds punch to your favorite Kung Pao chicken, Tex-Mex chili or Indian curry may also help save your life.

Preliminary research shows that eating chili pepper may reduce your risk of death from heart disease, cancer and other causes, building on past studies that have found chili pepper to have health benefits.

"I think a lot of people are going to find this information quite new and pleasantly surprising," said Penny Kris-Etherton, a professor of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University in College Park, who reviewed the findings.

For the study, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio reviewed health and dietary records of more than 570,000 participants in four large studies conducted in the United States, Italy, China and Iran. The investigators compared health outcomes of people who ate chili pepper to those who rarely or never did.

The upshot: Those who ate chili pepper had a 26% reduction in death from heart-related causes, a 23% reduction in cancer death and a 25% reduction in all-cause mortality during the study period.

Even though dietary and cultural practices varied, similar trends were seen in all four countries, said senior author Dr. Bo Xu, a cardiologist. The findings highlight the impact of diet on overall health, he said.

But what's the magic in chili peppers?

The researchers pointed to a chemical component called "capsaicin" — which is responsible for the pepper's spiciness — as a potential explanation for chili's benefits. It's been studied before, Xu noted.

"People promote it as being something that is anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-obesity," he said, speculating that capsaicin explains the chili pepper's apparent health benefits. But Xu added that further study is needed to confirm it.

Meanwhile, Xu encourages patients in his cardiology practice to eat a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruits and vegetables, as well as certain types of nuts, protein, fish and olive oil.

"Pay attention to your diet because dietary factors can be both positive and negative," Xu said. "I think it's really important to pay attention to what you eat in terms of promoting your overall and cardiovascular health."

Kris-Etherton noted that past studies have shown that capsaicin helps quell growth of cancer cells, which may play a role in reduction of mortality from cancer and all causes.

Chili peppers contain potassium, fiber and vitamins A, B6 and E, she said, noting these can benefit blood pressure. And adding chili pepper might replace some of the salt a person might otherwise add to food. Many people — including Americans and people from Asian cultures — eat a very high-salt diet, Kris-Etherton added.

"Rather than just cut the salt out, people are looking for seasonings and flavorings, and this may be one that has a double benefit, decreasing the sodium and adding some antioxidants and maybe some bioactive components like capsaicin," she said.

But too much of a good thing can also cause problems. Hot pepper can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and a burning feeling in the gastrointestinal tract, she explained.

If you want to add chili pepper to your diet, Kris-Etherton suggests using it as a flavoring.

"People could use them with certain foods. So, let's just say they want to make something like guacamole, which is fine, but then pair it with healthy foods," Kris-Etherton said. "Don't get your chili peppers by eating a lot of avocado with a ton of chips."

The study didn't break down the amount and type of chili pepper that might be needed for health benefits. Xu also said it's too early in the research to give dietary guidelines for eating chili peppers to improve health outcomes.

The researchers are continuing to analyze data and hope to publish the full paper soon. The preliminary findings are scheduled to be presented at a virtual meeting of the American Heart Association Nov. 13 to 17.

More information

Learn more about chili peppers and health from the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Bo Xu, MD, cardiologist, Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Ohio; Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD, professor, nutritional sciences, College of Health and Human Development, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa.; American Heart Association, Scientific Sessions news release, Nov. 9, 2020