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Native Natural Remedies » Cardiovascular Health » Enjoy Spicy Food? The Benefits of Capsaicin in Chili Peppers to Lower Blood Pressure

Enjoy Spicy Food? The Benefits of Capsaicin in Chili Peppers to Lower Blood Pressure

Good news for spicy food lovers! According to a new study, an ingredient in chili peppers called capsaicin could help to lower blood pressure – naturally. Capsaicin is the red hot ingredient that gives chili peppers its fire – and motivates Mexican food lovers to seek out another bowl of hot salsa.

Capsaicin in Chili Peppers to Reduce Blood Pressure

In this study published in the journal Cell Metabolism, researchers found that capsaicin in chili peppers lowers blood pressure in rats by causing their blood vessels to relax. It does this by activating special channels called TRPV1 channels. When these channels are activated, cells lining the arteries called endothelial cells release more nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps to open up blood vessels – so the blood can flow more easily through the vessels. Nitric oxide is the same chemical that’s responsible for the blood pressure lowering effects of dark chocolate. How about a spicy hot chocolate with that salsa?

Other Health Benefits of Capsaicin

Capsaicin in chili peppers has other health benefits as well. Research shows that the capsaicin in hot, spicy foods not only suppresses appetite, but boosts metabolism too – so the body burns more fat.

Eating capsaicin-rich foods also helps to prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol – and lowers triglyceride levels. It also keeps platelets from clumping together, which could increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Anyone who’s ever bitten into a hot chili pepper knows how quickly it clears the sinuses. Plus, recent studies show that the capsaicin in chili peppers increases insulin sensitivity – and may help diabetics better control their blood sugar levels. It’s even being researched as a treatment for prostate cancer.

Should You Take a Capsaicin Supplement to Lower Blood Pressure?

Capsaicin seems to have positive health benefits, but it’s not a good idea to take it as a supplement at this point. This study was done in rats – and human research is needed to confirm the blood pressure lowering effect seen in mice. In addition, some studies show that high doses of capsaicin increase the risk of gastric cancer. Until more is known, it’s best to get the benefits of capsaicin from food sources – such as red chili peppers and hot salsa instead.

References:
Nutraingredients.com website. “Research links chili compound to lower blood pressure”
World’s Healthiest Foods website.
Article by Dr. Kristie Leong M.D. May not be republished without the Authors permission.

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