New study seems to show those who regularly eat spicy foods have a lower death rate.
Chowing down on some spicy foods may actually help you to live longer, according to a study reported in the Washington Post.
Scientists that were trying to understand why we enjoy eating hot foods that sometimes cause us such discomfort, think it may be because our bodies think they are good for us. The research is still early, but evidence points to benefits such as boosted metabolism, reducing gastric damage, and reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease.
The study was quite large, surveying the eating habits of almost 500,000 people in China from 2004-2008, and asking them to complete a questionnaire detailing their consumption of spicy foods.
After controlling the data for other death related factors, the survey found that people who consumed 1-2 servings of spicy foods per week had a 10 percent lower death rate than those who never or rarely ate spicy foods.
Participants who enjoyed spicy foods 3-7 times a week gained an even greater advantage at a 14 percent lower death rate. The data was similar for both men and women.
The study also linked the consumption of spicy foods to some specific diseases, ischemic heart and respiratory system diseases, and cancer. Those associations with those particular diseases appeared stronger on those who consume fresh chili peppers, as opposed to dried chili and sauces.
The researchers suggest that the reason could be the molecules of capsaicin, which bind to the pain receptors on the tongue, making them feel as if they were burning. Capsaicin has been reported as beneficial with regards to anti-obesity, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-hypertensive effects.
The researchers also noted that spices may contribute to longevity by containing an anti-microbial, that reacts with bacteria in the gut.
They also warned it was too early to make any definitive statements about the consumption of spicy foods, and they stopped short of recommending that people should eat more spices.
Their report likely will cause the discussion over eating spicy foods to heat up.