If you like spicy foods, we've got good news! Chili peppers, known for their hot flavor, have been found to offer lots of health benefits, and may even help us to live longer.
According to Medical News Today, a study tested on more than 16,000 people in the U.S. showed that those who ate red chili peppers on a regular basis had a lower risk of death from any cause at all. That includes heart disease and stroke.
Co-authors of the study, Mustafa Chopan and Benjamin Littenberg, found that what brings these health benefits is a compound found in spicy peppers (like chili peppers) called capsaicin. The capsaicin is what gives the peppers their heat. It's also been found to have the potential to halt breast cancer and perhaps even reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
To be more specific, the findings showed that the "all-cause" mortality risk was 13% lower for those who consumed chili peppers throughout the course of the 1988-1994 study. Since only a relatively few deaths occurred during the study, it's hard to be too sure how the peppers would affect specific causes of death, but the data that is available suggests that the regular consumption of these peppers was most strongly associated with a reduced risk of vascular and heart diseases and stroke.
If these reasons aren't enough to get you to start eating the spicy pepper, you might like to know that it also helps to protect against obesity, and can even work as a pain reliever. Authority Nutrition reports that capsaicin may reduce calorie intake, based on a study in which 24 regular consumers found that taking it before a meal reduced calories. Another study found that 10 grams of red chili pepper can significantly increase fat burning for men and women!
Pain relieving qualities also come from the capsaicin element of the pepper. It binds with the nerve endings that sense pain, and works to desensitize them. Don't get too hasty, though, these effects are not permanent, so you'll need to continue eating chili peppers regularly if you want to sustain the benefits.