When it comes to fighting off disease, prevention is paramount. And if part of that prevention includes dousing our dinner in chilli, consider us more than happy to oblige.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, people who consume red chilli at least four times per week reduce their risk of dying from a heart attack by up to 40 per cent. In addition, they lower the risk of cerebrovascular deaths, e.g. stroke by more than half. Even better news? These benefits occur regardless of what the other aspects of a person’s eating regime look like.
The study’s authors put this down to the capsaicin content (the compound that makes red chilli spicy.) Previous research points out capsaicin can boost the metabolism as it slightly raises the body temperature, meaning it burns more calories. In this way, it helps with obesity and can combat cardiovascular problems.
“Peppers with capsaicin have been shown to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides, and help keep cells from sticking together and forming blood clots,” adds Sonya Angelone, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
All these positives aside, more research is needed to fully understand why chilli is such a powerful preventative. But in the meantime, we’ll be over here… drizzling chilli oil on everything.