A man in Canada recently set his third mark recognized by the Guinness World Records for speed eating his way through 246 grams of ghost peppers — the world's hottest chili pepper.
Afterward, he told a television station he felt great about winning the title because it puts him one step closer to his goal: "Collect as many Guinness Records for eating hot peppers as I can."
And according to some researchers, this pepper champion may be extending the time he has to achieve his fiery ambition.
A new study, presented initially at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2020, suggests that people who regularly eat chili peppers may live longer. Researchers from Cleveland Clinic's Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute looked at data from 4,729 studies that included roughly 570,000 people and found regularly eating chili peppers reduced the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by as much as 26%, and of cancer-related deaths by 23%.
Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical compound that despite its red-hot nature, has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, and blood-glucose-regulating effects. Some research also suggests that when eaten regularly, chili peppers can aid in weight loss, possibly due to their high levels of polyphenols.
But reports from the Environmental Working Group suggest some hot peppers may contain potentially toxic insecticides that can harm the central nervous system. So spice up your life, but wash peppers well, and buy organic or grow your own if you can.