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New evidence that hot peppers are heart healthy

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Hot peppers have heart healthy benefits, in new findings.

Heart disease is a number one killer that once it develops, requires medications and total lifestyle changes. In new findings presented at the 243rd National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), researchers explain “capsaicinoids”, which give heat to cayennes; jalapenos, habaneros and other chili peppers have heart healthy benefits including lower cholesterol and blood pressure control.

Heart and blood vessel benefits from hot peppers

Capsaicin in peppers is known for having anti-inflammatory properties. Products sold over the counter to help arthritis pain and sore muscles contain the chili pepper ingredient.

"Our research has reinforced and expanded knowledge about how these substances in chilies work in improving heart health," said Zhen-Yu Chen, Ph.D., who presented the study.

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"We now have a clearer and more detailed portrait of their innermost effects on genes and other mechanisms that influence cholesterol and the health of blood vessels. It is among the first research to provide that information.”

Chen says studies show capsaicins contribute to both heart and blood vessel health. The hot pepper compound lowers LDL, or bad, cholesterol without affecting beneficial HDL, or high density lipoprotein levels that keep heart disease at bay.

The research team also found capsaicinoids might even help reduce plaque in the arteries that already exists to improve blood flow from existing coronary artery disease. Chili pepper compounds also in block an enzyme that in turn allows blood vessel to relax.

If you enjoy hot peppers, consider making them a regular part of your diet for improved heart health. The new finding shows capsaicin in chilies, jalapenos and other hot pepper varieties do good things for heart healt

243rd National Meeting and Exposition
March 27, 2012

Updated February 18, 2016