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Originally published November 1 2007

Capsaicin from chili peppers may help prevent obesity, weight gain

by M.T. Whitney

Chili peppers, already seen as having anticancer properties, may also help you fight flab, according to new research involving mice from the National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan. Chili peppers are a prime source of capsaicin, and capsaicin is now being shown to prevent fat cells, or adipocytes, from growing into mature cells.

• The researchers said that early studies suggest eating chilis lower the amount of fat in the blood.

• The effective levels of capsaicin are found in people who regularly eat Thai or Indian diets, according to the researchers. The exact amount found to be effective is between 8 to 25 micromoles of capsaicin per day.

• Habaneras are the highest rated pepper for capsaicin content.

• Capsaicin is linked to fighting cancer because it promotes the natural cycle of programmed cell death, called apoptosis. Cancerous cells attempt to resist apoptosis and, if successful, eventually overtake the body with cancer.

• High intakes of hot chili peppers have been linked with increased risks of stomach cancer.

• Capsaicin has been linked to killing cancer without side effects.

Bottom line

In addition to anticancer properties, chili peppers also may have anti-obesity benefits, according to findings involving mice.

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