Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Hot News - Is Chilli the Cure for Poor Lifestyle Eating?

So hot chilli is now good for you. Many in the tropics would agree, and there is nothing like a great Indian, Malay, Indonesian or Sichuan Chinese meal well laced with chilli, and other spices.

Chilli could one day replace aspirin for the prevention and treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to some University of Tasmania scientists who are looking at the way the spicy fruit affects the blood.

A research fellow at the university's school of life sciences, Kiran Ahuja, said the two active ingredients in chilli - capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin - have the potential to lower blood glucose and insulin levels, reduce the formation of fatty deposits in artery walls and prevent blood clots.
Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death in developed countries.

''We have tested capsaicin and that shows an effect on platelet aggregation or the clotting of blood,'' Dr Ahuja said. She said her research, which used chilli paste to minimise seasonal or batch variation, had not come across any side-effects of chilli [so who is she kidding - ask someone who does not like chilli!!].

In fact, some studies had suggested chilli actually reduced damage caused by aspirin.

When it came to early-stage diabetes, when the pancreas over-produced insulin in an attempt to help the body absorb glucose, Dr Ahuja's research suggested consuming chilli resulted in the body producing less insulin, while the glucose was still used efficiently. ''It may actually delay or prevent the onset of diabetes,'' she said.

But for those wondering just how much chilli to add to their stir fry, Dr Ahuja said that was still to be established. ''It depends on how hot the chilli is, as the hotter it is, the more capsaicin it has.'' Dr Ahuja, has been working in the area since 2003, and has recently received a further $16,400 in funding to continue the work from the University of Tasmania.

As one wag has pondered...........

So could it be the high use of chilli in Asian diets that prevents heart disease and not the low meat/high vegetable status of these cuisines? The low cardiovascular pathologies in Asian cultures have been one of the anti-meat campaign's lynch pins. Just proves how hard it is to focus on just one dietary marker as cause and reason of good or bad health.

THAT is an interesting thought! Particularly now that red meat is being used more widely in many asian areas [with chilli of course].

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