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Regular chili pepper consumption promotes longevity

12 May 2019

Regular consumption of chili pepper is associated with reduced risk of total and cardiovascular (CV) death, according to a study from Italy.

Researchers conducted a longitudinal analysis on 22,811 men and women aged ≥35 years enrolled in the Moli-sani Study cohort to test the hypothesis of an association between chili pepper intake and risk of total and CV mortality.

Intake of chili pepper was estimated using the EPIC food frequency questionnaire and categorized as follows: none/rare, up to 2 times/week, 2–4 and >4 times/week. Cox regression and competing risk models were used in the analysis.

Over a median follow up of 8.2 years, 1,236 deaths occurred, of which 444 were due to CVD. Multivariable estimates showed that compared with the nonrare intake category, regular chili pepper consumption (>4 times/week) yielded a 23-percent reduction in all-cause mortality risk (hazard ratio [HR], 0.77; 95 percent CI, 0.66–0.90) and 34-percent reduction in CV mortality risk (HR, 0.66; 0.50–0.86).

Regular intake also conferred protection against the risks of ischaemic heart disease (HR, 0.55; 0.35–0.87) and cerebrovascular death (HR, 0.39; 0.20–0.76).

Finally, traditional CVD risk factors (eg, blood cholesterol and triglycerides) only marginally accounted for the association between chili pepper intake and total mortality.

Chili pepper, along with other spices, is an integral part of a traditional Mediterranean diet, researchers said. However, the protective association of chili pepper with total and CV death appears to be independent of adherence to the diet.

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