A new study suggests that the compound that gives chili peppers their heat could have the ability to lower cholesterol and boost heart health.
After putting mice on a high cholesterol diet and adding varying degrees of capsaicinoids - the active compound in chili peppers -- a team of Chinese researchers found that the dietary additions resulted in lower total cholesterol levels compared to control groups in the study, reported NutraIngredients.com in Friday.
The study was published in the European Journal of Nutrition.
The chili compounds were also associated with decreased levels of inflammation, also a precursor for heart-related diseases.
While the addition of capsaicinoids reduced total cholesterol, triglycerides (a form of fat) and non-HDL cholesterol levels (or ‘bad' cholesterol) levels, the effects of chili pepper compounds were not related to a specific dose.
To date, no such research has been carried out in humans.
The latest research builds on previous studies which have shown that spices can do everything from curb appetites to help cancel out the unhealthy effects of a fatty meal.
In one Spanish study, scientists found that cloves had the highest antioxidant capacity over sage, rosemary, thyme, and oregano.