Love eating chili peppers? Well, it turns out they could cut down your risk of dying. But, like anything that sounds too good to be true, there’s a catch – you have to eat them on a regular basis. I’m a big fan of chili peppers myself. I like to eat jalapeños a couple of times a week. But a new study out of Italy makes it seem like I need to eat a few more.

Cut Down Your Risk Of Dying With Chili Peppers

Researchers analyzed health and eating habit data over eight years from over 22,000 Italian citizens. According to this new study, those who ate chili peppers four times per week or more reduced their risk of death by 23%. When looking specifically at heart attacks and strokes, researchers found a 40% lower risk of dying from a heart attack and over 50% reduction of dying by stroke.

Why Do Chili Peppers Have A Protective Effect?

Unfortunately, this study did not identify a reason for this protective effect. Chili peppers are rich in vitamins and minerals and contain capsaicin, which has been linked to many health benefits and is the main bioactive plant compound in chili peppers. So, more research is needed to isolate the ‘why’ to go with the ‘what’. 

Were Research Participants Following A Particular Diet?

In short, no, they were not. In fact, the study found no difference between those following the Mediterranean diet or eating a diet considered to be less healthy. So, regardless of other dietary factors, chili peppers still appeared to provide a protective effect against heart attacks, strokes, and even death. And, it’s important to keep in mind the results of this study are purely observational, which means there could be other contributing factors. For example, it’s possible that those who ate chili peppers used more herbs and spices in general, or ate more vegetables in general – both would lead to better overall health and longevity.

Eating chilies cuts risk of death from heart attack, study says