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Health benefits of chilli

Health benefits of chilli

There are multiple benefits to braving chilli. If you can handle the heat, here are some of the advantages to spicing up your meals.

Health benefits of chilli

It’s linked to reduced risk of heart attack and stroke

A new observational study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that in a group of 22,811 men and women, those who regularly ate chilli more than four times a week were 44 per cent less likely to have died of ischemic heart disease such as heart attacks, and were also 61 per cent less likely to have died of cerebrovascular disease such as strokes.

Research published in the British Medical Journal by the Chinese Academy of Medicine also found a lower mortality rate among people who ate spicy food.

After tracking the health of nearly half a million participants for several years, scientists found those who said they ate spicy food once or twice a week had a mortality rate that was 10 per cent lower than those who ate spicy food less than once a week. Risk of death reduced further for participants who enjoyed spice six or seven days a week.

Participants who ate fresh chilli peppers had a lower risk of death from cancer, coronary heart disease and diabetes.

It has blood pressure benefits 

According to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology’s study, chillies were linked to reduced blood pressure. Research on hypertensive rats carried out in China also found capsaicin, the compound responsible for chilli’s heat, led blood vessels to relax.

It clears sinuses

According to UCLA Health, capsaicin can help thin out mucus and stimulate your sinuses, allowing for better air circulation and drainage. 

It can help with weight loss

Studies have found chilli increases metabolic activity, can reduce calorie intake, and can curb appetite.

It’s a good source of antioxidants

Chilli peppers are rich in vitamins and minerals. Just 42 grams of chilli would account for your recommended daily dose of vitamin C. The peppers are also rich in vitamin A and minerals such as iron and potassium.

It has potential in cancer treatment 

Evidence on the effects of chilli on cancer is mixed. However, several studies have shown capsaicin is helpful in fighting human prostate and lung cancer cells in mice. Translating that dose to humans would require eating a huge number of chillies per day, so scientists are trying to determine how capsaicin works and how that can be transformed into an effective cancer drug.

It’s a natural painkiller

Capsaicin creams and patches can be bought in chemists to relieve pain. Capsaicin binds with pain receptors, and can desensitise them over time. One study has found giving 2.5 grams of chilli daily to people suffering from heartburn causes the pain to improve over time, despite pain worsening initially.

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