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Spicing up your life proves to have many health benefits

The beneficial effects of spices and their bioactive ingredients, such as capsaicin, are already known. Eating red pepper decreases appetite and so may help to reduce obesity. Spices have beneficial roles in cardiovascular, dermatological and gastrointestinal conditions, various cancers and neurogenic bladder. They also have antibacterial activity and affect gut microbiota, which have been related to risks of diabetes and liver cirrhosis.

Bioactive ingredients in chilli peppers are good for health

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This large study examined associations between regular consumption of spicy foods and mortality. Results showed that those who ate spicy food more than once a week were less likely to die from cancer, ischaemic heart disease and respiratory diseases. The mechanism is speculative but the cardiovascular system is rich in capsaicin-sensitive nerves that have a role in regulating cardiovascular function. Antioxidant and antiplatelet properties of capsaicin and its role in regulating energy metabolism may also be beneficial for the cardiovascular system. Possible reasons for benefits for the respiratory system are anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory and antihypertensive effects.

Fresh chilli pepper is richer in bioactive ingredients than other forms such as chilli sauce and this study showed that it did have a greater effect.

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