The Humble Chilli, Friend or Foe? Health Wonder!

Many many thousands of years ago, us humans stumbled on the Chilli. We have taken pleasure from adding heat from the Chilli into food. Slightly Masochistic! Well maybe we have plenty of good reasons to?

Well where do we start....Humans came into the hemisphere about 20,000 years ago. Probably coming into contact with Chilli relatively early and found that it gave them pain. On numerous occasions, Chillis have been domesticated in the West because we have found some usefulness. Medicinal as well!

The potential for both health and harm has always been a defining characteristic of The Chilli pepper, and among Scientists, Doctors and Nutritionists it remains a matter of some dispute which prevails.

A huge study that was in the British Medical Journal,  showed diets filled with Chilli WAS extremely beneficial to our health.

In another well study,  a team at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences tracked the health of nearly half a million participants in China for several years. They found that participants who ate spicy food a couple of times a week had a mortality rate 10% lower than those who ate spicy food less than once a week. Risk of death reduced still further for the die hard Chilli eaters who consumed spicy food six or seven days a week.

Chilli of all types were used  among the sample, and those who ate fresh chillis had a lower risk of death from cancer, coronary heart disease and diabetes.

One of the authors of the study, Lu Qi - who confesses that he is very keen on spicy food - says there are likely to be many reasons for this effect.

"The data encourages people to eat more spicy food to improve health and reduce mortality risk at an early age," says Qi, a nutritionist at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, though he adds that spicy food may not be beneficial for those with digestive problems or stomach ulcers.


So be careful with the amounts you eat, especially if you are not used to them! But, you should be introducing them to your diet if you don’t already!


Nathalie Riva
Nathalie Riva


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