Want to Live Longer? Spice Up Your Life!
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, J.D., Founder
If you are a lover of spicy food, it turns out you may be doing something quite wonderful for your overall health.
Recent research has provided evidence suggesting that people who eat chili pepper may not only live longer but also have a reduced risk of death due to cardiovascular disease (which is one of the leading killers of American men and women) as well as cancer.
“Previous studies have found eating chili pepper has an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer and blood-glucose regulating effect due to capsaicin, which gives chili pepper its characteristic mild to intense spice when eaten,” according to this Medical Xpress report discussing the research.
To give you a bit more on capsaicin, it is a phytochemical found in cayenne pepper (for example). Capsaicin is the most active ingredient in cayenne pepper.
“Capsaicin has powerful pain-relieving properties when applied to the skin. It reduces the amount of substance P, a chemical that carries pain messages to the brain, in your body,” reports the University of Maryland Medical Center.
“When there is less substance P, the pain messages no longer reach the brain, and you feel relief.”
There are several prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) lotions, creams and ointments that contain capsaicin and are used to provide relief from pain associated with arthritis, fibromyalgia, common muscle and joint pain and low back pain.It may even help relieve a toothache!
“Topical application of capsaicin is proved to alleviate pain in arthritis, postoperative neuralgia, diabetic neuropathy, psoriasis, etc.,” according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
It may even help with nerve pain from shingles and other painful skin conditions, but be sure to consult a doctor before you use topical products that contain capsaicin. And avoid using on open cuts and wounds.
Now, back to how chili pepper may help you live longer!
The recent research examined the dietary records of more than 570,000 people located in the United States, Italy, China and Iran. The researchers compared those who rarely or never ate chili pepper to those who did consume chili pepper.
Here is what they found within those that did eat chili pepper:
- a 26% relative reduction in cardiovascular mortality
- a 23% relative reduction in cancer mortality
- a 25% relative reduction in all-cause mortality
"We were surprised to find that in these previously published studies, regular consumption of chili 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 one of the lead study authors.
There are many different kinds of chili peppers that you can choose from (and some are not even that spicy if you can’t take the heat!). Some examples are:
- Bell peppers (these are considered to be sweet, no-heat chili peppers)
- Poblanos (great in Mexican cuisine)
- Anaheim peppers
Add chili peppers to your salad, soups, scrambled eggs and more! I like to add jalapeños to my salads. If you remove the seeds, they are not very spicy. Just be sure to not touch your eyes after handling jalapeños with your bare hands. And you can always make cayenne pepper a regular seasoning in your home cooked meals.
As always, if you have any dietary concerns, medical issues, are taking any medications or are pregnant or breastfeeding, be sure to consult a competent healthcare professional about what foods you are including in your daily diet and if chili peppers are a good dietary choice for you.
Enjoy your healthy life!
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or another competent healthcare practitioner to get specific medical advice for your situation.
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.