According to the American College of Cardiology, new research states that eating hot chili peppers regularly may help prevent heart attack and stroke. The study unveils eight years of research in Italy, during which 23,000 individuals consumed the spicy food two to four times a week. Those eating more chili peppers had lower mortality rates and a lower risk for ischemic heart disease.
Chili peppers are a staple in the healthy Mediterranean diet. If you would like to learn more about the eating lifestyle, let us know. While spicy foods give some people heartburn and indigestion, in the long run, it might pay off to incorporate them into your eating habits.
The Health Benefits of Hot Chili Peppers
The Mediterranean Neurological Institute also cites various studies that reveal the same findings. The more chili peppers you eat, the better your heart will fare. The studies show that eating hot peppers may reduce your risk of cardiovascular death by as much as 34%.
There are many health benefits associated with eating chili peppers. They possess anti-inflammatory properties as well as lots of anti-oxidants. Additionally, studies show that the peppers improve the body’s ability to break down lipids, or fat cells, reducing the risk of hypertension, clogged arteries, and type 2 diabetes.
Incorporating Chili Peppers into a Healthy Diet
Packing chili peppers alone into your diet, though, won’t have much benefit without following a healthy lifestyle. Part of the correlation between eating spicy foods and a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease comes from the fact that those who do tend to have balanced diets and consume more fresh foods.
Many spices fight spices fight inflammation in the body, and there are many spices that promote healthy digestion. By adding more of these to your diet, along with foods packed with other nutritional benefits, you can decrease your risk of developing chronic health conditions even further.
Misconceptions Surrounding Spicy Foods
Many people wonder if eating spicy foods, such as hot chili peppers, have any negative side effects. A popular online search is, “Can you die from eating something too spicy?” The University of Chicago dispels many of these myths. Spicy foods do not cause ulcers or hemorrhoids, two common questions that patients frequently ask their doctors.
When to Stay Away
The University of Chicago does warn those with gastrointestinal issues, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease, to stay away from the food. It’s likely that they will trigger symptoms and can leave you feeling sick. Additionally, those with esophageal health concerns or chronic anal fissures should also stay away.
Be Aware of Study Discrepancies
While the new research has promising findings, it’s important to be aware of overlooked factors. The studies did not follow changes in diet over time, so it is possible that those eating more chili peppers also adopted healthier eating habits throughout the study. The study also did not track other lifestyle factors, such as smoking, exercise, or medication intake.
Additionally, the greatest decrease in cardiovascular risk occurred in highly educated men, a group that generally shows better health and increased lifespan compared to others. Still, don’t be discouraged. A study in China reveals a 22% reduction in death from ischemic heart disease, and a second study in the United States still reports a 13% reduction in risk.
What Does it All Mean?
If you’re scratching your head trying to decipher the final results, focus on the positive. All of the studies did show a decreased risk of death from heart disease in individuals who ate hot chili peppers four times a week or more. And one thing is for sure. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet never hurts.
Research is still in the early stages, and cardiovascular experts plan to continue diving into the results. Further studies are sure to come. In the meantime, if you have the green light from your doctor and enjoy the heat, then spice it up!