Spice Up Your Life – How to Add Herbs to Your Diet
Love a bit of spice in your life
A recent study confirms that eating spicy food regularly positively influences our long term health and wellbeing.
Published on the 4th August 2015 in the British Medical Journal, the study looked at 199,293 Chinese men and 288,082 Chinese women aged 30 to 79 years in 10 different geographical areas.
In China, chilli peppers are among the most popular spicy foods consumed nationwide.
The results of the study indicate that compared with those who ate spicy foods less than once a week, those who consumed spicy foods almost every day had a 14% lower risk of death.
This additionally relates to deaths due to cancer, ischaemic heart diseases, and respiratory diseases and were consistent in men and women.
Ingestion chilli peppers and its bioactive constituents such as capsaicin have been found in many studies to:
- Decrease appetite and energy intake, reducing the risk of being overweight and obese.
- Have a beneficial role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (due to its anti-hypertensive effect). The cardiovascular system is rich in capsaicin sensitive sensory nerves, which have an extensive role in regulating cardiovascular function. The antioxidant and anti-platelet properties of capsaicin and the role of capsaicin in regulating energy metabolism may also contribute to its beneﬁcial effects on the cardiovascular system.
- Improve gastrointestinal conditions.
- Modulate various biological processes in some cancers.
- Reduce the impact of neurogenic bladder and dermatological conditions.
- Exhibit antibacterial activity.
- Affect gut microbiota populations (with its antimicrobial activity), which in humans have been recently related to an increased outcomes of diabetes (by improving glucose homeostasis) and liver cirrhosis.
- Improve antioxidant activity.
- Have anti-inflammatory effects.
Consequently these actions indicate that some spices, chilli in particular has a dramatic influence on morbidities (how often an individual or population develops a disease) and mortality (frequency of deaths) in humans.
Notably ambiguous about this study was the actual amounts of fresh chilli eaten per day other than the noted ‘daily’ ingestion.
What can be taken from this study is that regular, almost daily ingestion of fresh chilli prepared into foods and eaten will statistically reduce both disease processes and deaths from these diseases.
- Consumption of spicy foods and total and cause specific mortality: population based cohort study
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