Spicy curry key to healthy heart: study

Researchers say compound in hot peppers lowers the total cholesterol levels,benefit blood vessels.

Written by Agencies | London | Published: March 28, 2012 11:55:53 am

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.

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