Spicy food may lead to a longer life – study

Like spicy food? If so, you might live longer, say researchers at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont, who found that consumption of hot red chili peppers is associated with a 13 percent reduction in total mortality — primarily in deaths due to heart disease or stroke — in a large prospective study.

The study was published recently in PLoS ONE.

Going back for centuries, peppers and spices have been thought to be beneficial in the treatment of diseases, but only one other study — conducted in China and published in 2015 — has previously examined chili pepper consumption and its association with mortality. This new study corroborates the earlier study’s findings.

Using National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) III data collected from more than 16,000 Americans who were followed for up to 23 years, medical student Mustafa Chopan ’17 and Professor of Medicine Benjamin Littenberg, M.D., examined the baseline characteristics of the participants according to hot red chili pepper consumption.

They found that consumers of hot red chili peppers tended to be “younger, male, white, Mexican-American, married, and to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and consume more vegetables and meats . . . had lower HDL-cholesterol, lower income, and less education,” in comparison to participants who did not consume red chili peppers. They examined data from a median follow-up of 18.9 years and observed the number of deaths and then analyzed specific causes of death.

“Although the mechanism by which peppers could delay mortality is far from certain, Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels, which are primary receptors for pungent agents such as capsaicin (the principal component in chili peppers), may in part be responsible for the observed relationship,” say the study authors.

There are some possible explanations for red chili peppers’ health benefits, state Chopan and Littenberg in the study. Among them are the fact that capsaicin is believed to play a role in cellular and molecular mechanisms that prevent obesity and modulate coronary blood flow, and also possesses antimicrobial properties that “may indirectly affect the host by altering the gut microbiota.”

“Because our study adds to the generalizability of previous findings, chili pepper — or even spicy food — consumption may become a dietary recommendation and/or fuel further research in the form of clinical trials,” says Chopan.



Australian chilli sauces make hot debut in Bangladesh

A variety of chilli sauces developed by Australian regional food manufacturer Bryon Bay Chilli Co have had a sizzling debut in Bangladesh.

Byron Bay Chilli Co launched six varieties of its sauces – Smokin Mango, Spicy Lemongrass, Fiery Coconut, Heavenly Habanero, Green Jalapeno and Red Bengali – to meet the growing demand for high-quality chilli sauces.

The well-known Australian condiments will be sold through Bangladesh’s largest processed food conglomerate, PRAN Agro Ltd.

PRAN Agro manufactures more than 200 international-standard products in 10 categories, and exports to more than 100 countries.

Under a licensing agreement, PRAN Agro will also produce the sauces at its factory in Natore. This is the first agreement of its kind to produce food products in Bangladesh using Australian recipes, technology and branding.

“While other Australian sauces and salsa products are imported and sold in Bangladesh, we secured a licensing production agreement with PRAN Agro late last year which will give us an edge in the market,” said John Boland, Bryon Bay Chilli Co Director.

The licensing deal allows PRAN Agro to use Byron Bay Chilli Co’s recipes and technology, while maintaining the Australian company’s branding. The range will potentially be exported into neighbouring South Asian markets and possibly the Middle East.

“Austrade helped us with our entry into Bangladesh, providing support and business advice which was very beneficial in our success,” said Boland.

Gregory Harvey, Austrade’s New Delhi–based Trade Commissioner and South Asia Food and Agribusiness team leader, said Bangladesh’s maturing palate and growing demand for innovative, international food brands were key factors that helped Byron Bay Chilli secure this partnership.

“Bangladesh has a growing middle class of around 30 million and is quickly developing as a significant consumer market for high-quality food products. It also provides access to neighbouring markets like Nepal, Bhutan and the north-eastern states of India,” said Harvey.

Australia’s trade with Bangladesh has grown steadily over the past few years, with two-way trade totalling A$1.87 billion in 2015. Australian merchandise exports to Bangladesh in the same period was A$688 million, with significant exports of pulses, fertilisers and wheat.