Hot pepper could help heart health

Mar 29, 2012

Certain types of peppers may help heart health.

While most people think of spicy foods as something causes heartburn, a new study shows that a hot pepper compound could actually help heart health. For people with a family history of heart disease, this could be a very good thing that may help save lives and money on life insurance policies.

The study, which was part of the National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society, focused on capsaicin and other relatives. Past research showed that "capsaicinoids" could have positive effects on lowering blood pressure, blood cholesterol and ease the tension of possible blood clots.

"We concluded that capsaicinoids were beneficial in improving a range of factors related to heart and blood vessel health," said Zehn-Yu 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."

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