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Do you love the snap that chili peppers give to your food? Are you a fan of the heat they impart to a variety of dishes? Even if you’re not, you may want to take another look at the humble chili pepper. From migraine relief to weight control, researchers are verifying what some cultures have known for centuries: the chili pepper and its key constituents, like capsaicin, deliver a host of health benefits. Here are just some of the ways chili peppers are helping to fight some of the country’s most common health conditions:
Obesity is also a worldwide issue, making effective weight-control remedies a priority for health advocates around the world. Science Daily reports that University of Wyoming researchers are investigating capsaicin as a weight-control supplement. Researchers believe the chili pepper constituent may help boost metabolism by inhibiting cells that store fat and encouraging the type of cells that turn fat into energy.
Multiple studies aim at exploring the effect of capsaicin on cancer cells. One notable investigation from Marshall University found evidence that the compound inhibited the growth of lung cancer tumors through an animal-based study, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. In another study, researchers at Nottingham University in the United Kingdom also found that capsaicin killed cancer cells without harming healthy cells in cultures of human lung and pancreatic cancer cells.
About 30 million Americans live with diabetes, and the disease is the seventh-leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the American Diabetes Association. While multiple medicines are available to treat diabetes, many people still find it difficult to control the disease. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating chili peppers as part of a regular, healthy diet could help control diabetes.
Chili peppers also deliver health benefits beyond medicinal ones. The peppers are highly nutritious, delivering a punch of nutrients that are also associated with better health, including vitamins A, C and B-6, iron, copper and potassium.