Apart from its painkilling effects, capsaicin -- the compound responsible for the burning sensation of chili peppers-- can help lower blood pressure levels.
Previous studies have reported that chili peppers can not only alleviate chronic pain and migraine but also help individuals shed off pounds through increasing their metabolism rate.
According to a study published in Cell Metabolism, capsaicin helps lower blood pressure levels in rats. "We found that long-term dietary consumption of capsaicin, one of the most abundant components in chili peppers, could reduce blood pressure in genetically hypertensive rats," said lead researcher Zhiming Zhu.
The compound activates the transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) channel, found in the lining of blood vessels, releasing nitric oxide -- a molecule that relaxes blood vessels and lowers blood pressure levels.
Scientists hope dietary capsaicin may represent a promising intervention of lifestyle in high-risk individuals suffering from hypertension and related vascular disorders.