Good news for chile lovers: A recent study has found that long-term consumption of chile peppers may help lower blood pressure. Capsaicin is the compound in chile peppers that gives them their spicy kick; along with its heat properties, the compound works to relax muscles, including blood vessels. The new study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, is the first to examine long-term effects of capsaicin consumption in mice. Researchers found that long-term consumption increased the production of nitric oxide, which is known to protect blood vessels against inflammation and dysfunction. Many other health benefits are already attributed to chile peppers, such as reducing inflammation, headaches, and arthritis pain. Researchers of this most recent study concluded that further analysis should be done on humans to determine the full benefits of capsaicin. In the meantime, be sure to eat plenty of salsa!
Cell Metabolism: Activation of TRPV1 by Dietary Capsaicin Improves Endothelium-Dependent Vasorelaxation and Prevents Hypertension