Eating Chilli Peppers Could be One Of The Best Things You Do

A selection of colourful chilli peppers on a blue table background.
Mexican hot chilli peppers - a colorful mix of habanero, poblano, serrano jalapeno, sweet. Copyright: tonobalaguer / 123RF Stock Photo

Chilli peppers have often been one of those foods that people struggle to deal with because of that extraordinary heat and spiciness. There is research though that suggests it may help reduce the risk of a fatal heart attack.

If you consume chilli regularly – about four times a week is good then there is a marked reduction in risk factors associated with death from both cerebrovascular and cardiac arrest.

The study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reported that people who eat chilli peppers enjoy a lower level of mortality risk generally. The reduction was 23% compared to those people who did not eat so much chilli.

This study looked at 22,811 people from the Molisse region of Italy. They were participating in the Moli-sani study. The study involved a follow-up period over roughly eight years. The researchers found that those eating plenty of chilli reduced their risk of dying from a heart attack by 40%.

Researchers though are sceptical in the sense that there is no direct causal link between consuming chillies and lowering the risk but it raises some interesting aspects on nutrition.

Licia Iacoviello, Professor of Hygiene and Public health at the Universita dell’Insubria of Varese, said:

“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.”

Marialaura Bonaccio, an 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, and someone else can eat less healthily, but for all of them chilli pepper has a protective effect.”

Growing chilli peppers is relatively straightforward although a greenhouse is ideal for growers in northern European climates. 


Marialaura BonaccioAugusto Di CastelnuovoSimona CostanzoEmilia RuggieroAmalia De CurtisMariarosaria PersichilloClaudio TabolacciFrancesco FacchianoChiara CerlettiMaria Benedetta DonatiGiovanni de GaetanoLicia Iacovielloon behalf of the Moli-sani Study Investigators. Chili Pepper Consumption and Mortality in Italian Adults.
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