Live longer by spicing up your meals

Peppers may contribute to longevity

You may recognize jalapeno, cayenne, serrano and Thai as varieties of peppers known to flavor spicy dishes across the globe.  While these little fruits bring the heat to plates worldwide, they also pack big nutrition and health value in managing ulcers and weight loss!  A 2019 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology took a look at the big picture around chilis, to see how eating more of them may affect how long we live!

Researchers reviewed the diets of almost 23,000 Italian men and women over five years learning that ¼ of the participants reported to regularly eat chilis more than four times a week!  They were also more likely to follow a Mediterranean style diet but tended to have higher blood sugar and fat levels.  Despite this, researchers concluded that regular consumers of chili peppers have lower death risk compared to those who eat them infrequently or never!  Although the mechanism for this benefit is still unclear, previous research suggests that it may be related to antioxidant properties of capsaicin – the beneficial compound that give chili peppers their heat.

Whether fresh, preserved or dried, opportunities to add chili to dishes are endless. Italians refer to them collectively as pepperoncini, and use them with pasta, on pizza, and in tomato sauces.

If you’re new to the chili world, keep these pro tips in mind:

  • At first, add a small amount of fresh or dried chili to your diet to avoid overpowering your taste buds!
  • Wear disposable gloves when working with them!  Their fresh oils can linger and can be quite uncomfortable on skin and eyes.
  • Use a paring knife to remove all seeds and white ribs from the inside.  The most heat lingers here!  As you learn which peppers you like most, you can experiment with leaving some of the ribs and seeds.
  • Try peppers in recipes that are naturally on the sweet side. They have a sweet side that balances the warmth from the peppers for a final dish that has a ton of flavor.

Your Dole Team

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