Speed Reading — Chili Peppers - Level 6 — 500 wpm 

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There is good news for lovers of hot and spicy food – the chili inside it can help you live longer. Researchers from the University of Vermont College of Medicine in the US have discovered that capsaicin, the active ingredient in hot red chili peppers, may boost the metabolism, strengthen the cardiovascular system and help reduce high blood pressure and obesity. They said people who regularly ate hot red chili peppers had a 13 per cent reduced risk of premature death compared with those who did not eat them. They concluded that: "The consumption of hot red chili pepper was associated with reduced mortality. Hot red chili peppers may be a beneficial component of the diet."

The researchers surveyed a total of 16,179 adults over a period of six years. Survey participants answered questions on their health, lifestyle, income and eating habits. The researchers analysed the deaths that occurred in the 18 years following the survey. A total of 4,946 of the participants died. Of these, 21.6 per cent regularly consumed chili compared with 33.6 per cent who did not. This led the researchers to believe hot red chili peppers helped prolong life. Britain's National Health Service urged people not to rely on one "superfood" like chili to stay healthier. It said: "Eat a balanced diet high in a variety of fruit and vegetables, limit salt, sugar and saturated fat, stay active [and] avoid smoking."

Comprehension questions
  1. For whom is there good news?
  2. What did researchers say the active ingredient capsaicin can boost?
  3. What was the reduced risk of premature death for chili eaters?
  4. What did researchers associate hot red chili pepper consumption with?
  5. What kind of dietary component did researchers say chilis were?
  6. What was the timeframe in which researchers surveyed participants?
  7. For how many years did researchers follow participants after the survey?
  8. What percentage of those who died regularly ate chili?
  9. What did researchers say eating hot red chili peppers prolonged?
  10. What kind of fat did a health service recommend limiting?


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