16/01/2017 11:20 GMT

Eating Hot Chilli Peppers Could Help You Live Longer

Do takeaway curries count?

Chilli-lovers, rejoice. Spicy peppers aren’t just delicious, they may also help you live longer. 

That’s according to a new study which links the consumption of red hot chilis to a 13 per cent reduction in total mortality, primarily in deaths due to heart disease or stroke, researchers at the University of Vermont found.

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 “Although the mechanism by which peppers could delay mortality is far from certain, Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels, which are primary receptors for pungent agents such as capsaicin (the principal component in chilli peppers), may in part be responsible for the observed relationship,” the study authors said.

Capsaicin is believed to play a key role in cellular and molecular mechanisms that prevent obesity and modulate coronary blood flow. It may also possess antimicrobial properties, the researchers said. 

It’s only the second study to analyse whether eating chillis has an impact on mortality, but its corroborates the previous study’s findings.

Mustafa Chopan, a medical student at Vermont and Benjamin Littenberg, a professor of medicine, analysed the mortality rate of more than 16,000 Americans over 19 years. 

They found that consumers of chilli peppers tended to be “younger, male, white, Mexican-American, married, and to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and consume more vegetables and meats . . . had lower HDL-cholesterol, lower income, and less education,” in comparison to participants who don’t.

“Because our study adds to the generalizability of previous findings, chilli pepper ― or even spicy food ― consumption may become a dietary recommendation and/or fuel further research in the form of clinical trials,” said Chopan.