It's found in spicy chili, bold sauces, and many south-of-the-border goodies. It's also the stuff that gives hot peppers their heat and makes your eyes water just a tad. And your colon really loves it.
We're talking about capsaicin. New research suggests this nippy little compound that makes your mouth tingle may make colon cancer cells pretty uncomfortable, too, sending them into a self-destructive death spiral. Ouch.
Dance of the Dying Cell
In a recent lab study, capsaicin sparked a complex set of mechanisms in colon cancer cells that had been exposed to the fiery compound for 24 hours. An enzyme thought to kill off cancer cells increased, as did death-inducing changes in the maverick cancer cells' mitochondria and DNA. More research is needed -- including research in human subjects -- to determine if dietary capsaicin could have similar beneficial effects against colon cancer. But animal research on pancreatic cancer and diet already suggests that dietary capsaicin may be up to the challenge.
More Ways to Cut Colon Cancer
Red peppers tend to have more capsaicin than green peppers, but it can't hurt to add either kind to your huevos rancheros in the morning or to your fish tacos at night. Still, colon protection doesn't start and stop with the spicy stuff. For more gut protection, try these other tips as well:
Wait -- there's more! Capsaicin can help curb your appetite and calorie intake, too.
To eat healthy, pick foods that are the colors of the rainbow, and watch your portion sizes. Eating foods that are colorful-red apples, orange carrots, yellow squash, green salad, tomatoes, blueberries and purple eggplant-helps yo...u add fruits and vegetables to your diet. More