There’s an easy way to be healthier in the new year. You don’t have to follow any strict meal plan or make an unattainable resolution. All you have to do is spice up your diet! Research published earlier this year shows that eating hot chili peppers could add years to your life.
The study relies on data from more than 16,000 American adults who participated in a public health study that spanned 23 years. Researchers at the University of Vermont collected information from the group and discovered that participants who reported eating hot peppers had a 13-percent reduced risk of dying early. Specifically, the peppers appeared to reduce deaths associated with heart disease and stroke.
We don’t know exactly why the peppers apparently promote longevity. The researchers think capsaicin, the compound in peppers that gives them a spicy kick, could play a role.
First, capsaicin is antimicrobial. In fact, capsaicin may be able to alter the bacteria in your gut, improving digestion as a result. Additionally, capsaicin is involved in cellular and molecular mechanisms that prevent obesity and help fight cardiovascular disease. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular diseases are the world’s leading cause of death.
Clearly, these findings are noteworthy. In fact, the researchers predict that chili peppers and spicy foods containing them could become a dietary recommendation. We can also look forward to additional research that will hopefully decipher why chili peppers are linked to longevity.
But be cautious because you can overdo it with peppers. Some peppers are just too hot. For example, the spiciest pepper in the world, grown by a Welsh farmer, is so spicy it could actually kill you.
When you’re eating all those peppers, remember not to drink water. It may seem like counterintuitive advice but water spreads the pain-producing capsaicin instead of dissolving it. Go for milk instead if you want relief.
So, spice up your life. It could mean ringing in a few more new years.