Spicy foods have been a part of human life for thousands of years. A recent study by Chinese researchers on behalf of China Kadoorie Biobank collaborative group has found that eating spicy food routinely may actually extend your life.1
This might not be new information. A 2009 study from the University of Texas has shown that the ingestion of spicy foods in Indian culture has helped reduce obesity and heart disease.2 However, the Biobank study has added some important data. The researchers collected Chinese mortality rates in relation to spicy food consumption between 2004 and 2008. Those who did not eat spicy foods had a higher mortality rate than those who did. “Compared with those who ate spicy foods less than once a week, those who consumed spicy foods 6 or 7 days a week showed a 14% relative risk reduction in total mortality.”
So how would spicy foods reduce mortality rates in the first place? One possible reason spicy foods are reducing mortalities may be Capsaicin, an active ingredient predominantly found in chili peppers. Capsaicin helps prevent cancer and obesity as well as provides powerful antioxidants.4 Still, further research is needed as there may be other diseases such as those related to gallbladder and digestion that may be negatively affected by the consumption of chili peppers and spicy foods.
If you are someone who has a sensitive stomach and gets inflammations from even the smallest amount of spicy food consumption, you may want to ignore this new research and stick to foods that keep you healthy everyday. Always consult with your doctor and find out if spicy foods should be something you consume on a daily basis.