Spice lovers rejoice! A new study has shown that people who just can’t get enough of a spicy curry may just be eating their way to a healthy heart. Scientists from the Chinese University of Hong Kong found that the compounds that give cayennes, jalapenos, habaneros and other chilli peppers their fiery heat help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
The study also discovered that the piquant family of spices, called capsaicinoids, also lowers the risk of blood clots. Capsaicinoids block the cyclooxygenase-2 gene that make arteries contract, which restricts the blood flow through the heart. They also help reduce the size of fatty deposits already in the blood vessels, which narrow arteries in a way that could lead to heart attacks or strokes.
Lead study author, professor Zhen-Yu Chen told Science Daily:
“We concluded that capsaicinoids were beneficial in improving a range of factors related to heart and blood vessel health. But we certainly do not recommend that people start consuming chilies to an excess. A good diet is a matter of balance. And remember, chilies are no substitute for the prescription medications proven to be beneficial. They may be a nice supplement, however, for people who find the hot flavor pleasant.”
This sounds like the perfect excuse to visit your favorite Thai food restaurant more often!
Do you enjoy spicy foods? What foods do you eat to keep your heart healthy?