Do you like spicy food? I'm talking about that hotter than a summer night, my mouth is on fire, I need a drink now, man this tastes great type of spicy food? Well, if you do, I have some good news for you. That fire in your belly might lower your risk of dying from cancer, heart disease, and lung disease. So a new study says you should go for it.
Recently, researchers reported on a study of 199,293 men and 288,082 women between the ages of 30 to 79 years. None of them had cancer, heart disease, stroke or any other disease at the beginning of the study. The researchers regularly questioned them on how much hot food they ate each week. They also regularly checked them for illness.
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At the end of seven years, a total of 11,820 men and 8,404 women had died. And here's what the researchers found out. Compared with those who ate foods spiked with chili peppers less than once a week, those who consumed them more than three days per week on average were 14% less likely to die from anything. This was specifically true for cancer, heart disease, and lung disease. Even the men and women who ate spicy food only once a week were 10% less likely to die than those who indulged less than that.
The authors pointed out that many previous studies have demonstrated health benefits from chili peppers. And other studies have shown that certain bioactive substances in hot peppers such as capsaicin can have beneficial effects in conditions such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. So all you hot sauce lovers out there can feel free to poor it on in the name of health.
But what if you don't like hot food? Is there another way to get the benefits of capsaicin? Fortunately, there is. You can buy cayenne capsules and take one or two with your meals. That way you can get the benefit without the burn.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
Lv J, Qi L, et al. Consumption of spicy foods and total and cause specific mortality: population based cohort study. BMJ. 2015 Aug 4;351:h3942.