Chili peppers could help you live longer - study

  • 14/01/2017
Red hot chili peppers - good to eat (Getty)
Red hot chili peppers - good to eat (Getty)

Eating red hot chili peppers - the spicy food, not the band - could lower the chances you'll die young.

New research out of the US has backed the findings of a Chinese team, who in 2015 published the only research to date on the longevity effects of chili peppers.

Researchers at the University of Vermont looked at two decades' worth of medical data from 16,000 Americans.

They found the consumers of red hot chili peppers were generally "younger, male, white, Mexican-American, married, and smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and consume more vegetables and meat…  had lower HDL-cholesterol, lower income, and less education".

After 18 years, there was a 13 percent lower mortality rate in those who regularly ate chili peppers - mainly from lower rates of stroke and heart attacks.

But they don't know why.

"Although the mechanism by which peppers could delay mortality is far from certain… pungent agents such as capsaicin may in part be responsible for the observed relationship," say the study authors.

Capsaicin is the component in chili which creates the burning sensation when eaten.

"Chili pepper - or even spicy food - consumption may become a dietary recommendation and/or fuel further research in the form of clinical trials," says medical student Mustafa Chopan, who contributed to the study.