According to the American Heart Association, chile peppers can improve your cardiovascular health.

By Kelly Vaughan
November 09, 2020

Need another reason to turn up the heat at dinner? As it turns our, your favorite super spicy recipe may have some added health benefits. According to new research shared with the American Heart Association, consuming chile peppers may reduce the risk of mortality related to cardiovascular disease by 26 percent. Chile pepper consumption was associated with a 25 percent reduction in death from any cause and 23 percent fewer cancer-related deaths, compared to people who never—or only rarely—consumed chile peppers. The health and dietary records of more than 570,000 individuals in the United States, Italy, China, and Iran were used to compare the overall health and mortality rates of those who consumed chile pepper to those who rarely or never ate chile pepper.

assorted colored peppers
Credit: Lennart Weibull

"We were surprised to find that in these previously published studies, regular consumption of chile pepper was associated with an overall risk-reduction of all cause, CVD, and cancer mortality. It highlights that dietary factors may play an important role in overall health," said senior author Bo Xu, M.D., cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic's Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute in Cleveland, Ohio.

This isn't the first time that chile peppers have been shown to have significant health benefits. Previous studies have found that chile peppers have an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer, and blood-glucose regulating effect due to capsaicin, which gives chile peppers their intense heat.

If you're wondering just how hot a chile pepper needs to be to reap the benefits, know that experts don't have an answer just yet—they say more research is needed before they can give a definitive answer and that the amount and type of chile pepper consumed was different between each study. That's what makes it difficult to draw conclusions about exactly how much, how often, and which type of chile pepper is associated with health benefits.


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