Photo used for illustrative purpose only
Consumption of chilli peppers may reduce the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or cancer”, according to preliminary research at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2020.
Previously studie have found chillies has an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer and blood-glucose regulating effect due to capsaicin – which gives chilli its characteristic hot taste.
To analyze the effects of chilli pepper on cardiovascular disease, researchers screened 4,729 studies from five leading global health databases, these were: Ovid, Cochrane, Medline, Embase and Scopus.
These included four large studies which specifically included health outcomes for participants with data on chilli pepper consumption.
More than 570,000 health and dietary records were included to these studies, which biased on people from the United States, Italy, China and Iran. The study allowed them to compare the outcomes of those who consumed chillis to those who rarely or never ate them.
Compared to those who “rarely” or “never” ate chillis, the analysis found people who did eat them had:
. A 26 per cent relative reduction in cardiovascular mortality
. A 23 per cent relative reduction in cancer mortality
. A 25 per cent 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, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality,” said senior author Bo Xu, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic’s Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute in Cleveland, Ohio.
“It highlights that dietary factors may play an important role in overall health,” he said.
But Dr Xu warned: "The exact reasons and mechanisms that might explain our findings, though, are currently unknown.”
“Therefore, it is impossible to conclusively say that eating more chilli pepper can prolong life and reduce deaths, especially from cardiovascular factors or cancer.
“More research, especially evidence from randomised controlled studies, is needed to confirm these preliminary findings.”
Researchers also cautioned that there are several limitations to this type of study. The four studies reviewed included limited specific health data on individuals or other factors that may have influenced the findings.
The researchers also noted that the amount and type of chilli pepper consumed was variable among the studies, making it difficult to draw conclusions about exactly how much, how often and which type of chilli pepper consumption may be associated with health benefits.
The research team said they are continuing to analyse their data and aim to publish a full paper in due course.
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