Regular consumption of spicy foods linked to lower risk of early death

Aug 11, 2015

Photo credit: © PhotoEd / Fotolia

This is an observational study so no definitive conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, but the authors call for more research that may “lead to updated dietary recommendations and development of functional foods.”

Previous research has suggested that beneficial effects of spices and their bioactive ingredient, capsaicin, include anti-obesity, antioxidant, anti-inflammation and anticancer properties.

So an international team led by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences examined the association between consumption of spicy foods as part of a daily diet and the total risk and causes of death.

They undertook a prospective study of 487,375 participants, aged 30-79 years, from the China Kadoorie Biobank. Participants were enrolled between 2004-2008 and followed up for morbidities and mortality.

All participants completed a questionnaire about their general health, physical measurements, and consumption of spicy foods, and red meat, vegetable and alcohol.

Participants with a history of cancer, heart disease, and stroke were excluded from the study, and factors such as age, marital status, level of education, and physical activity were accounted for.

Read the full article by clicking the name of the source below.

10 comments on “Regular consumption of spicy foods linked to lower risk of early death

  • 1
    Pinball1970 says:

    I had trouble scrolling through the link

    Did they mention endorphins?

    In short eating hot curry makes you feel good because of the chillies.

    Regular doses of happiness without drugs would be good for anyone in my book.

    As long as this is not outweighed by 8 pints of beer before hand or a curry that is infused with lots of Ghee, eating one can be quite healthy too.

    Easy on the carbs, easy on the sauce and easy on the scoville, get the balance between hot and too hot.

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  • 8
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    Here’s an evidence-based look at the study findings

    Thanks for the link. Personally I’m always wary of those studies finding that such and such ingredient or type of food is somehow related to longevity. Those are almost always a jumble of correlations with no actual, evidence-based causal connections.

    One thing mentionned by the physician in the video drew my attention: spicy food consumption is often combined with alcohol consumption. And that combination when in excess, leads to gout. That is a medical FACT, not speculation. So if spicy foods makes you live longer, they could also make your (long) life quite miserable.

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  • Aside from the possible benefits, a lot of myths persist about the harmful effects of eating spicy foods in spite of a lack of evidence. Spicy foods do not cause heartburn, ulcers or any other adverse condition that we know of. A hot pepperoni pizza won’t give you heartburn because it’s hot but rather because it’s loaded with oils and fats.

    Furthermore cooking with chili and other spices allows you to reduce the amount of salt – an added bonus.

    About the only downside to eating very spicy food is that you become desensitized, to the extent that you require more and more to achieve the same level of intensity. Then when you have to eat “normal” food, when travelling say, it tastes bland and unappealing. One solution is to carry a bottle of your favorite hot sauce with you. My wife travels often to Colombia to visit her family and always returns with several jars of Yacaré – dried powdered chili from the Amazon region. It’s very spicy but with an appealing smoky flavor on top. I hate Tabasco though – it tastes like vinegar!

    We travel to Mexico a lot on business and try to sample as much local cuisine as we can – so we avoid the chain hotels and rather stay at local bed and breakfast types. And the food is almost always amazing!

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