Chilis May Lower Blood Pressure
Spicy food could counter hypertension: Study
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2010 10:07 AM CDT
An ingredient in chili peppers may lower blood pressure.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – Good news for spicy food lovers: Eating chili peppers may lower blood pressure over the long term. A new study, carried out on rats, is the first to establish a link between long-term ingestion of capsaicin, the ingredient that makes chilis spicy, and lowered blood pressure in animals predisposed to hypertension. The researchers behind the study say the next step is to compare rates of high blood pressure across regions with spicier and less spicy cuisines.

A first clue may come from China: The rate of hypertension is between 10% and 14% in spice-loving Sichuan, but more than 20% in the country's mild-food-eating northeast, the Independent reports. And you don't necessarily need to eat spicy food to get the benefits of capsaicin: There's a mild Japanese pepper that contains a similar compound.