Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hot Peppers Can Help Your Heart

Hot Peppers Can Help Your Heart

Known for bringing the heat to chili peppers like cayennes, jalapenos, and habaneros, capsaicin also packs a healthy punch. New research adds evidence to the case capsaicin protects the heart and lowers cholesterol.

Whether you love hot peppers or can’t take the heat, here’s some interesting intel about the fiery produce: They can protect your heart.
The health benefit comes from capsaicin (pronounced kap-say-sin), the same compound that makes chili peppers like cayennes, jalapenos, and habaneros so hot. Capsaicin, which also has a reputation for relieving certain kinds of pain, is a widely used ingredient in over-the-counter topical creams and ointments for arthritis.

On the heart-health front, previous studies have suggested chilies can help reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and the formation of blood clots, but new research presented at the 243rd National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in San Diego, Ca., adds even more evidence to their positive effects.

Researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong found capsaicin lowers blood cholesterol levels and blocks a gene that makes arteries contract, which can lead to dangerous blockages of blood flow. Such blockages can cause heart attacks (when blood can’t reach the heart) or strokes (when blood can’t reach the brain).

For the study, the team of researchers fed hamsters high-cholesterol diets. Then they added foods with capsaicinoids, the broader family of substances of which capsaicin is part, to one group's diet.
Does this mean you should start scarfing down hot peppers? Hardly. But if you can stand the spiciness, adding these types of peppers to balanced meals might give your heart health plan an added boost.

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