Spice it Up!

August 18, 2015 12:20 PM

If you like your food with a bit of a kick, you’re in luck. Recent studies say that people who ate spicy foods as many as 7 times a week had a lower overall risk of death. The multi-year studies on many thousands of people were done in China where eating spicy food is extremely common.

The molecule in peppers that produces the hot, burning sensation is capsaicin, which binds to the pain receptors in the tongue. A wide variety of peppers containing this substance have been used for centuries as both culinary and medicinal ingredients. Today, capsaicin-based creams are used for topical pain relief.  Now, research shows that capsaicin contains antioxidants and produces anti-obesity, anti-cancer, anti-hypertensive, and anti-inflammatory properties.

So, is capsaicin really a miracle drug? Too soon to say since more definitive studies are needed in which the strength of the peppers consumed is measured more precisely. While we’re all waiting, let’s toss some jalapenos in the pan and enjoy the burn.


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