Researchers have found a compound in the peppers which is known as capsaicin, which is the active ingredient which gives them their heat.
Scientists at the Third Military Medical University in China, conducted a study in which they fed hypertensive rats a diet rich in capsaicin.
The results showed that this seemed to reduce the rats’ blood pressure over a period of time.
It is thought that this result is achieved by the ingredient activating a receptor channel which is found in the lining of the blood vessels. This has an effect on the production of nitric oxide, causing it to rise and protect the blood vessels against inflammation.
Researchers have said the study was based on acute short term exposure to the chemical as opposed to long term treatment so more studies are needed to see how many chilli’s would need to be eaten each day to have the same impact on humans.