Think of a healthy meal — and a spicy curry might be the last thing that springs to your mind. But,a new study has now claimed that the hot dish could be the key to a healthy heart.
Researchers have found that a compound in hot peppers,used to spice up curry,lowers the total cholesterol levels and benefit blood vessels — in fact,the secret lies in the hot part of the chilli,the capsaicin,which they say helps ward off heart disease.
The spicy ingredient is something of a health wonder. It has been found to help shrink prostate and pancreatic tumours,works well as a painkiller and helps treat asthma,colds and flu. It has been used for weight loss.
And,now the researchers at Chinese University of Hong Kong say they have found that capsaicin and a close chemical relative aid heart health in two ways,a media report said.
First,they lower cholesterol by reducing its build-up in the body and increasing its breakdown and excretion. Secondly,they also block action of a gene that makes arteries contract and restrict blood flow to the heart and other organs.
In their study,the researchers focused on capsaicin and fiery-hot capsaicinoids which give cayennes,jalapenos,habaneros and other chillies their heat.
Prof Zhen-Yu Chen,who led the study,said: We concluded that capsaicinoids were beneficial in improving factors related to heart and blood vessel health.
But we certainly do not recommend that people start consuming chillies to excess. A good diet is a matter of balance. Chillies may be a nice supplement for people who find the hot flavour pleasant.
The findings have been presented at the National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society.