A large new study of Italian adults found that eating chili pepper four times a week significantly reduces the risk of fatal diseases.
The pungent pepper reduced the overall risk of fatal illness by up to 23%, and cut the risk of stroke by nearly 50%.
Capsaicin, the active compound in hot peppers that creates the spicy sensation, has been found in previous research to have a myriad of health benefits, including boosting metabolism and lowering blood pressure.
For the study, researchers at the Mediterranean Neurological Institute in Pozzilli, Italy, looked at 22,811 Italian men and women who were 35 years old or older and who had tracked their health and eating habits in a regional health study over an average period of eight years.
In the study, researchers found that fans of spicy chilis had better health compared to people who didn’t eat them – even if other parts of their diet were less healthy. And, even people with other risk factors for chronic illness, such as diabetes, hypertension, or a family history of heart problems, enjoyed health benefits from eating chilis, according to the study.