If you like your food with a bit of spicy kick to it, we’ve got some good news for you. You may be doing your heart a favor while you’re tickling your taste buds. A recent study has confirmed what many have theorized for years. The compound found in spicy peppers known as capsaicin has been found in a recent study to help better prevent and even treat existing cardiovascular-related issues.
“Our research has reinforced and expanded knowledge about how these substances in chilies work in improving heart health,” said Zhen-Yu Chen, Ph.D., who presented the study. “We now have a clearer and more detailed portrait of their innermost effects on genes and other mechanisms that influence cholesterol and the health of blood vessels. It is among the first research to provide that information.”
Chen and his team found that capsaicin helps heart health in two different ways. It reduces the body’s retention of cholesterol by increasing its ability to break it down faster and excrete it naturally as feces. It also helps to block the body’s gene that makes arteries contract, allowing blood to flow more freely through the body.
“We concluded that capsaicinoids were beneficial in improving a range of factors related to heart and blood vessel health,” said Chen, a professor of food and nutritional science at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. “But we certainly do not recommend that people start consuming chilies to an excess. A good diet is a matter of balance. And remember, chilies are no substitute for the prescription medications proven to be beneficial. They may be a nice supplement, however, for people who find the hot flavor pleasant.”
So add a little spice to your dinner and your life! It’s better for you than you might think!