According to researchers at the University of Tasmania, regular consumption of chili peppers could improve insulin control after eating.
Chili pepper, a rich source of antioxidants, has previously been linked to inhibiting the growth of pancreatic cancer cells, and has been suggested to cut fat and energy intake when added to the diet.
According to the recent study findings regular consumption of a chili-containing meal could improve insulin control by about 60 per cent.
To examine the effects of the spicy food, researchers had participants eat their normal diet for four weeks, and then switched to the chili diet for an additional four weeks.
Blood samples were taken to measure levels of serum glucose, insulin and C-peptide, used as another measure of insulin levels. Researchers found that after the chili diet regime, the blood glucose levels increased less than for the normal diet.
Blood insulin levels for the chili group increased by only 69 micro-International Units per millilitre (mcIU/mL) of serum, compared to the increase of 109 mcIU/mL measured after the bland meal consumption.
The mechanism could not be identified, although the researchers suggest that compounds in chili act on receptors in the liver, which subsequently affects insulin production and/or clearance.
Some caution should also be exercised as high intake of hot chilies has been linked with increased risk of stomach cancers in the populations of India and Mexico.
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