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How to live longer: Eat this more than four times a week to lower risk of early death

It is startling the extent to which science has given us agency over our lives. Science has shown that we are not merely subject to the forces of nature or some divine power. It is the choices we make that largely determine the course of our lives.

How to live longer: People who ate chillies regularly lowered their risk of early death (Image: Getty Images)

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Specific ingredients have been shown to provide a bulwark against these deadly complications.

Chillis are one such ingredient, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The study investigated the protective benefits of chillis and found that consuming the spice ingredient on a daily basis slashes the chance of being killed by stroke by 61 percent and heart attack by 40 percent.

To arrive at this conclusion, Italian researchers followed more than 22,000 adults for an average of eight years.

They found people who ate chillies four times weekly were 23 percent less likely to die young than those who avoided them.

Consuming the spicy pepper also cut risk of all forms of heart death by 34 percent.

Lead researcher Marialaura Bonaccio, from Institute for Research, Hospitalisation and Health Care Neuromed in Pozzilli, said: “An interesting fact is that protection from mortality risk was independent of the type of diet people followed.

“In other words, someone can follow the healthy Mediterranean diet, someone else can eat less healthily, but for all of them chilli pepper has a protective effect”.

How to live longer: Slash your salt intake to ward off the threat of high blood pressure (Image: Getty Images)

Fellow researcher Licia Iacoviello, a Professor of Hygiene and Public Health at the University of Insubria, said: “Chilli pepper is a fundamental component of our food culture.

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“Over the centuries, beneficial properties of all kinds have been associated with its consumption, mostly on the basis of anecdotes or traditions, if not magic.

“And now we know that the various plants of the capsicum [pepper] species, although consumed in different ways throughout the world, can exert a protective action towards our health”.

To enhance the benefits, you should enjoy chilis as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

According to the NHS, a healthy, balanced diet should consist of a low-fat, high-fibre diet, which should include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (five portions a day) and whole grains.

“You should limit the amount of salt you eat to no more than six grams (0.2oz) a day as too much salt will increase your blood pressure,” advises them health body.

High blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against your artery walls.

It is a precursor to heart disease so it is imperative to keep it in check.

Other dietary tips

“You should avoid food containing saturated fats, because these will increase the levels of bad cholesterol in your blood,” says the NHS.

“Bad” cholesterol, otherwise known as LDL cholesterol, is a fatty substance that builds up in your blood.

It can clog up your arteries, starving the heart of oxygenated blood – a process that can lead to having a heart attack.

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