Can Chocolate and Chili Peppers Make You Invincible?

One of my favorite things about people is their curiosity. Their interest in learning new things, exploring ideas that fascinate them, discovering areas of study that were known only to a select few. I satisfy my own curiosity by listening to different podcasts, dabbling in new hobbies, and reading about interesting ideas and people.

So I was excited to discover the science news website,, which shares stories of academic and medical studies geared toward a general audience.

They report on scientific studies performed by highly-trained researchers who have spent years, if not decades, building knowledge in that field.

Meaning this is not the "research" done by your anti-vaxxer, Flat Earther cousin who thinks astronomy involves reading their horoscope.

Speaking of astronomy, reported on one U.K.-based study that showed one in six British adults believe our entire galaxy is called "Earth."

Also, 20 percent of them think the sun is a planet.

I really wish I was making that up.

These are the same people who think today was a bad day to make a major financial decision because they're a Pisces. I'm so glad our economy is not dependent on one-twelfth of the population who will or won't spend money because of their star sign. publishes all kinds of research on any number of topics, including intelligence, relationships, technology, and the environment, just to name a few. They also publish a lot of health-related studies.

For example, a study out of West Virginia University found that glucosamine tablets may reduce one's risk of cardiovascular death — and death in general — just as much as a regular exercise routine.

This was great news for me, because if there's one thing I hate more than death in general, it's a regular exercise routine. Even sporadic exercise ranks pretty high on my list. So I was pleased to see that I could help stave off death with glucosamine, which is an amino sugar and some natural compounds normally found in cartilage.

“Does this mean that if you get off work at five o’clock one day, you should just skip the gym, take a glucosamine pill and go home instead?” Dr. Dana King, chair of the Department of Family Medicine and one of the researchers, said in a press release.

Don't harsh my happy, Doc. It may not be exercise-in-a-pill, but I like the fact that it can reduce death just as if I had done 30 minutes of cardio.

"That’s not what we suggest," continued Dr. Bringdown. "Keep exercising, but the thought that taking a pill would also be beneficial is intriguing."

La-la-la-la-la, I can't hear you! Running bad, pill good.

In fact, as near as I can tell, glucosamine may even make me invulnerable.

According to the WVU study, taking glucosamine every day for a year or more has been associated with a 39 percent reduction in what they call all-cause mortality.

Which, if I'm reading this correctly — and I think we know the answer to that — means that if I take glucosamine every day for a year, I'm 39 percent less likely to die from getting hit by a bus. Does that mean if I took two tablets, I'd be 78 percent less likely? And if I took three a day, could I be Wolverine?

Maybe Wolverine isn't a mutant at all. Maybe he's got super healing powers because he's a glucosamine junkie.

He probably also ate a lot of chili peppers, which can reduce your risk of dying from heart disease by 26 percent and from cancer by 23 percent. In fact, according to the American Heart Association's study, there was a 25 percent drop in all causes of death among people who included chili peppers in their diets.

So, if I had just one glucosamine tablet and a chili pepper each day, I could reduce my odds of bus-death by 64%.

See, I was able to figure this all out because I just drank a big mug of hot chocolate, which makes me smarter.

At least, that's according to a study by the University of Birmingham. (The one in the United Kingdom, not Alabama.)

They found that flavanols, which are molecules found naturally in fruits, vegetables, and even cocoa, can not only improve brain health, they can stimulate your brain-blood oxygenation levels.

The results of the study showed that this helped people to think faster and perform complex tasks more quickly. They found the study participants were able to perform more complex tests 11 percent faster if they drank hot cocoa versus non-enriched beverages.

Two more studies by the University of Reading in the U.K. and Baylor College in Texas found that flavanols can also lower blood pressure, so I had a second cup of hot chocolate and became a super-healthy genius.

Which is how I was able to figure out I could reduce my odds of bus-death so quickly. The hot chocolate made me smart enough to figure out that glucosamine and chili peppers could make me invincible.

Now all I need is a study that says eating pizza will make me rich, and I'll be set for life

Photo credit: Jarmoluk (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0)

My new humor novel, Mackinac Island Nation, is finished and available on Amazon. You can get the Kindle version here or the paperback version here.