Eating hot sauce could slash your risk of death by 23%
Eating chillies could be good for your heart.
A recent study showed that people who munch on the spicy food – more than four times a week – had a reduced death risk for cardiac and cerebrovascular causes.
The research, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, also noted that those who eat chilli peppers slash their mortality risk.
Staggeringly, death risk is 23% lower than those who don’t eat the fiery food.
To get these results, scientists compiled data from 22,811 citizens of Molise region in Italy.
They tracked participants for an average of eight years and found that the risk of heart attack death was reduced by 40%.
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Marialaura Bonaccio, epidemiologist at Neuromed in Pozzilli, Italy, said: "An interesting fact is that protection from mortality risk was independent of the type of diet people followed.
"In other words, someone can follow the healthy Mediterranean diet, someone else can eat less healthily, but for all of them chilli pepper has a protective effect."
Licia Iacoviello, director of the department of epidemiology and prevention at the IRCCS Neuromed, also spoke about the study.
She said: "Chilli pepper is a fundamental component of our food culture.
"We see it hanging on Italian balconies, and even depicted in jewels.
"Over the centuries, beneficial properties of all kinds have been associated with its consumption, mostly on the basis of anecdotes or traditions, if not magic.
"It is important now that research deals with it in a serious way, providing rigour and scientific evidence.
"And now, as already observed in China and in the United States, we know that the various plants of the capsicum species, although consumed in different ways throughout the world, can exert a protective action towards our health."
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Dr Duane Mellor, registered dietitian and senior teaching fellow at Aston University, agreed that results are interesting.
But the food expert urged caution in the interpretation of results.
Research into the health benefits of chillies is still in its infancy.
Dr Mellor added: "This is an interesting paper exploring potential associations between chilli consumption and risk of heart disease and stroke.
"It does not show a causal link, and hints that those who were following a more traditional Mediterranean diet seemed to benefit less than those not following this type of diet.
"This could suggest it is how chillies are used as part of an overall dietary pattern and lifestyle.
"It is plausible people who use chillies, as the data suggests also used more herbs and spices, and as such likely to be eating more fresh foods including vegetables.
"So, although chillies can be a tasty addition to our recipes and meals, any direct effect is likely to be small and it is more likely that it makes eating other healthy foods more pleasurable.”
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