A study looking at the chili pepper consumption and mortality of Italian adults has revealed that those who regularly eat chili peppers are likely to live longer and healthier. The research was carried out by the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention in the city of Pozzilli in Italy and may in part explain why the Mediterranean diet is considered to be so healthy, as chili peppers are a recurring ingredient in many recipes.
Moreover, the results of the study have been confirmed by researchers at the Cleveland Clinic who reviewed health data from over 570.000 people and presented their results through the American Heart Association. According to them, those who regularly eat chili peppers have a 26% lower risk of dying from heart disease and are 23% less likely to die from cancer.
“Regular consumption of chili peppers is associated with lower risk of total and CVD mortality in a large Mediterranean cohort of adults. The mechanisms through which chili peppers could lower mortality risk are still unclear, although a modest role was found for traditional CVD risk factors. The inclusion of chili pepper intake into a traditional MDS offered no or small added value in the discrimination ability of the modified score. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to report a negative association between chili pepper intake and (all-cause and specific) mortality risk in a Mediterranean prospective cohort, and to assess possible biological mechanisms underlying such association”, the study of the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention in the city of Pozzilli reads.
In short: until today, it’s quite unclear why the consumption of chili peppers is linked to a lower mortality rate.
“Therefore, it is impossible to conclusively say that eating more chili pepper can prolong life and reduce deaths, especially from cardiovascular factors or cancer. More research, especially evidence from randomized controlled studies, is needed to confirm these preliminary findings”, states author Bo Xu, M.D., cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic’s Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute.
Both studies are however an important step forward in understanding the impact of what we eat on our health and longevity.