Health Briefs

Published on February 1st, 2013 | by Natural Awakenings Publishing Corp.

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Hot Peppers Help the Heart

February is Heart Health Month, and individuals that like hot peppers have another reason to continue their spicy habit, according to recent research. A study presented at the latest National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society focused on the benefits of capsaicin and its fiery-hot relatives, a piquant family of substances termed capsaicinoids, that give cayenne, jalapeños, habanero and other chili peppers their heat.

The research team discovered that these substances boost heart health in several ways: They block the action of a gene producing a substance that makes arteries contract and restrict the flow of blood to the heart and other organs; lower cholesterol by reducing its accumulation in the body and increasing its breakdown and excretion; decrease the size of cholesterol deposits already formed in blood vessels that narrow arteries and increase the risk of heart attacks or strokes; and reduce overall levels of so-called “bad” cholesterol while not affecting levels of “good” cholesterol.



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