The Assistant Chief Dietitian, Ajeromi General Hospital, Ajegunle, Lagos, Olusola Malomo says consuming hot pepper can help to aid weight loss and relieve pain.
Malomo, however, said eating chilli peppers can cause intestinal distress in some people.
Speaking in an interview, the Dietician said capsaicin, a substance present in peppers helps to fight weight gain and improve metabolism.
“Pepper/chillie are rich in vitamins, minerals, and various unique plant compounds. These include capsaicin, the substance that causes your mouth to burn. Capsaicin is linked to several health benefits, as well as adverse effects.
“On one hand, it may help promote weight loss and relieve pain when consumed regularly.
“Eating chili can cause intestinal distress in some people. The symptoms may include abdominal pain, a burning sensation in your gut, cramps, and painful diarrhoea,” he said.
He noted that eating hot pepper can also help the digestive tract, promote a healthy heart, and relieve joint pain.
Malomo, who is also a former Council member of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, added that eating hot pepper helps to improve metabolism, fight flu, colds and fungal infections.
Speaking further, he said, “looking at the ideal use of pepper for indoor and outdoor meals, moderation is the keyword.
“When used in excess, there are numerous side effects. It can lead to gastric problems and stomach upset; having it in excess can cause irritation in the intestinal walls.
“To tone down pepper in your food, you need to incorporate other spices such as garlic, ginger, turmeric, cloves, bay leaf in your meal planning and ensure a continuous sensory evaluation.
“The taste of food can be monitored and evaluated periodically by some evaluation techniques.”
Also, a 2020 preliminary research to be presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions showed that individuals who consume chili pepper may live longer and may have a significantly reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or cancer.
The study analysed more than 4,729 previous studies from five leading global health databases, which included health and dietary records of more than 570,000 people in the US, China, Iran, and Italy.
They found that people who ate chili peppers had a 26 per cent less risk of dying from heart disease, a 23 per cent less risk of dying from cancer, and a 25 per cent less risk of dying from any cause, compared to people who rarely or never ate chili peppers.
Senior author Bo Xu, MD, cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic’s Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute in Cleveland, said the researchers “were surprised to find that in these previously published studies, regular consumption of chili pepper was associated with an overall risk-reduction of all cause, CVD, and cancer mortality.” Dr. Xu added that this highlights the way dietary factors may play an important role in overall health.
However, the researchers only tried to find a link between chili peppers and mortality and didn’t look for the exact reasons behind one.
“It is impossible to conclusively say that eating more chili pepper can prolong life and reduce deaths, especially from cardiovascular factors or cancer,” Dr. Xu said. “More research, especially evidence from randomised controlled studies, is needed to confirm these preliminary findings.”
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