Chillies could help burn fat, says a study that adds to a weight of evidence on the health benefits of capsaicin, the compound which gives the peppers their zing.
According to the latest study conducted by Gow-Chin Yen and Chin-Lin Hsu at the National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan, capsaicin makes fat cells self-destruct, reported the online edition of Daily Mail.
The result of the study is reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. If the results can be replicated in further studies, the weight management supplements market could see a strengthening of capsaicin.
Ancient cultures used the spice as an antiseptic and to treat cholera and bronchitis. It is thought the burning sensation of the chilli pepper is an evolutionary ploy to stop mammals eating them. Chilli is already thought to speed up metabolism, aiding weight loss.
Earlier, researches found it could also cause prostate and pancreatic cancer cells to kill themselves. It also helps prevent and heal stomach ulcers.
This is because it blocks acid production, stimulates alkali - an inorganic compound that counterbalances and neutralizes acids and improves blood flow in stomach tissue.
Experts claim that other research shows that gastric ulcers are three times less common in countries where large numbers of chillies are eaten.
In addition to all this, chillies have anti-inflammatory properties and scientists hope to use capsaicin to create a pill to treat swelling in arthritis sufferers.