Hot peppers may do more than just make foods tasty and spicy, they also may help kill cancer cells. Researchers at the University of Nottingham in England believe they've discovered the Achilles heal of cancer cells. In laboratory tests, they found that capsaicin, the chemical compound that makes peppers hot, kills the energy storehouse of cancer cells -- the mitochondria -- and thus renders the cells useless. These results may shed some light on why people in areas of the world where hot foods are common in the diet, such as India and Mexico, have lower cancer rates than other countries.
Capsaicin is already used in treatments for muscle strain and psoriasis, and it's known to be safe in the human diet, but more research is needed, including clinical trials, before any drugs containing capsaicin can be developed for cancer treatment. Until then, researchers encourage people to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and also to add some spice.
For more information on this research, go to: The Daily Mail.