Good news for people who like to add a little spice to their life and their food. A couple of recent studies show that eating peppers and spicy foods may help you live longer. Study authors say capsaicin, the substance in chili peppers that give them their punch, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that are linked with disease prevention.
The first study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that consuming hot food once or twice per week resulted in a 10 percent lower risk of death. Consuming spicy food six to seven times a week reduced the risk by 14 percent. Furthermore, rates of cancer, heart disease, and respiratory diseases were all lower in hot food eaters. The study included over 485,000 participants, and the results were risk adjusted by age, medical history, smoking status, and other factors.
In a more recent study of more than 16,000 American adults, those who reported eating hot peppers had a 13 percent reduced risk of dying prematurely. This study was also risk adjusted for factors such as age and medical history. However, researchers did not focus on the quantity of peppers that were consumed by the participants.
In addition to exercising, eating a healthy diet, not smoking, and getting enough sleep, adding a little spice to your plate can add days to your life.
Lv J, Qi L, Yu C, et al. Consumption of spicy foods and total and cause specific mortality: population based cohort study. BMJ, 2015; 351:h3942.
Chopan M, Littenberg B. The association of hot red chili pepper consumption and mortality: a large population-based cohort study. Plos One, 2017; 12(1): e0169876.