The diet that includes chillies can help lower the risk of heart disease, says a recent study published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The study involved 22,811 Italians, analysing their dietary habits and medical health records. The participants were followed up for an average of 8.2 years and during this time a total of 1,236 deaths were recorded.
It was found that regular chilli consumption was associated with lower all cause deaths, deaths due to cardiovascular disease and also causation of ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular deaths (stroke).
The study found that the Italians who ate chilli peppers at least four times per week had a 23 percent lower risk of deaths due to any cause and a 34 percent lower risk of dying due to cardiovascular disease. These individuals were healthier, stronger and free of high blood pressure.
There have been studies from China and United States previously that have revealed that hot chilli peppers and not Italian cooking can be the reason behind the protective effect on the heart and blood vessels.
The Chinese study with 487,375 people showed that persons who were consuming spicy foods at least six or seven times per week were at a 14 percent lower risk of deaths compared to those who consumed spicy foods at least once a week.
The researchers explain that chillies contain a compound called capsaicin. Sweet bell peppers are known to have no capsaicin content and the hot peppers are known to have high capsaicin content. This study showed that those who consumed sweet bell peppers did not enjoy a heart protective effect.