Researchers have long known that smokers have a lower risk of developing Parkinson's, a disease characterized by a loss of brain cells that make dopamine. No doctor would encourage lighting up, but there may be another way to get the benefit: peppers. They're a safe source of nicotine, which may protect dopamine-producing cells, says Susan Searles Nielsen, PhD, whose study, published in the Annals of Neurology,
found that eating peppers (mostly bell peppers, but spicier varieties count, too) twice a week or more was associated with at least a 30 percent reduced risk of Parkinson's.
Next: Health benefits of spicy foods