New research claims that eating chili peppers four times a week can significantly bring down the chances of having a heart attack or a stroke.
On Monday, a research paper titled “Chili Pepper Consumption and Mortality in Italian Adults” was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Researchers analyzed the diet of 22,811 Italians for nearly 8 years and concluded that consuming chili peppers four times a week decreases the chances of death from heart disease by 34%. Moreover, the chances of death from other diseases also lowered by 23%.
According to the researchers, capsaicin, an active component of chili peppers that produces a burning sensation, is the element that is linked to all these benefits to human health.
However, experts at the Instituto Neurologico Mediterraneo Neuromed (IRCCS) in Pozzilli, Italy, have repudiated the claims made in the research paper.
IRCCS says that all the participants of the study hail from Molise, Italy, which has a predominantly Mediterranean diet. Mediterranean diet is the healthiest in the world (according to IRCSS) which could have played an important role in bringing down the chances of death more than anything else.
Vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and fish form a big part of the Mediterranean diet. Eggs, red meat, and dairy products are rarely consumed in this diet. IRCCS experts termed the findings of the paper as observational rather than scientific.
To this, Marialaura Bonaccio, one of the authors of the paper, responded by saying that one may or may not follow the Mediterranean diet, but one thing is certain that chili peppers have a protective effect.