Here’s To Your Health Pepperheads!

by Kevin Burton

   OK, here we go, here’s some news I can use!

   People who consume chili pepper may live longer and may have a significantly reduced risk of dying of heart disease or cancer, according to preliminary research conducted by the Cleveland Clinic.

   As we used to say in high school, “Yeah, buddy!

   “Chili pepper consumption was associated with a 25 percent reduction in death from any cause and 23 percent fewer cancer deaths compared to people who rarely or never eat chili pepper,” reads a summary of the findings on

   These findings will be presented at the American Heart Association’s “Scientific Sessions 2020” a virtual event being held this weekend.

   I can only hope researchers find these benefits extend to consumers of other types of peppers as well.  Either way, this news warms my heart.

   Previous studies have found eating chili pepper has an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer and blood-glucose regulating effect due to capsaicin, the ingredient that gives chili pepper its zing, according to the website.

   Researchers stress that these findings are preliminary and that more randomized and controlled studies are needed to confirm them.

   Whatever man. I’m running with this!

   I have a mixed marriage in regard to the hot peppers.  For the most part, I say the hotter the better. As a concession to age I have slid down the Buffalo Wild Wings famous thermometer from “blazin” to “wild,” but that is still plenty hot.

   But my wife Jeannette steers clear of just about all products with a heat index above mild.  This is something we found out before the wedding.

   There was this time when we were still dating, Jeannette came by my apartment.  She came to repay $20 she had borrowed from me.  It was a Friday night, I wasn’t expecting her. 

   I had Campbell’s minestrone soup on the oven, which smelled good to her.  I of course said, sure she could have some. 

   It wasn’t until she had started eating that I remembered, oh no, I nuked this soup!  I had added a generous shake of cayenne pepper to the mix.

   I should have said something immediately. Instead I thought to myself, well maybe she won’t eat that much and won’t notice. Or surely she will notice how hot it is and stop.

   For some reason she consumed quite a bit of that soup. 

   I felt bad. She wasn’t quite panting in the way we associate with dogs romping with small children in the back yard on a hot day. But she wasn’t breathing free and easy either. I provided some cold water. It was the least I could do. 

    I was able to keep from bursting out in laughter but couldn’t keep the smile completely off my face.

   As she turned to go I said, “You know, that was really entertaining, here’s your $20 back.”

   Now you have to know Jeannette. She has an elevated sense of fairness and justice. One early career path she veered off of was to be a paralegal.

    It would be very much in her character to insist I keep the money. But she wordlessly took the bill and put it in her purse.

   Some people have to go out to get their Friday night entertainment. That time I didn’t.

   So you can see what kind of mad skills I had in the courtship department.

   Now as a married couple, we share the cooking duties. We make a lot of what we call taco meat, ground beef with Old El Paso taco seasoning. We make it into tacos, burritos, taco salad, whatever.  We always have the hot and spicy and the mild varieties on hand.

   Jeannette will always ask whether the taco meat she finds in the fridge is nuclear hot or not.  Sometimes her nose tells her what’s what.

   Chili pepper is not always nuclear hot, so maybe these research findings can help Jeannette too. 

   The findings were based on health records from more than 570,000 people from The United States, Italy, China and Iran.

Join the Conversation


  1. Hi Kev. This was quite entertaining. Wes has gotten pretty much used to things being kicked up with spice, but Hunter , while he was here was a work in progress. He thought mild was hot when he first came here, and we too had some entertaining moments, but by the time he moved on he said he sort of enjoyed spicy foods, though I rather doubt pepper exists in his kitchen at his apartment. Have a great Sunday.



  2. An entertaining read, Kev! I have no wild side; my go-to spice-level is always mild. Glad to hear sweet peppers also contain capsaicin (though not as much). Oh–and dark chocolate also contains anti-oxidants!


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