Spicy Foods May Lead to Longer Lives

Love them or hate them, spicy foods may hold the key to avoiding a number of life-limiting conditions new research says. In fact, regular consumption has been shown to lower the risk of death from such serious conditions as ischemic heart disease, respiratory disease and even cancer.

The study focusing on the benefits of spicing up meals was conducted in China. It involved some 487,000 adults from all parts of the country. Participants were between the ages of 30 and 70 and were asked to complete questionnaires about their health and regular diets. Researchers were especially interested in finding out about vegetable, alcohol, red meat and spicy food consumption. To gain a better understanding of long-term patterns, participants were followed for an average of 7.2 years.

When all was said and done, researchers found those participants who ate spicy food three to seven days a week had a 14 percent decreased risk of death during the follow-up period than their counterparts who consumed items less than once a week. Eating spicy foods at least twice a week still showed some benefits. These people had a 10 percent lower chance of death than those who ate spicy only once a week or less.

The conditions researchers found spicy foods seem to stave off were many. They included heart disease, cancer and respiratory diseases, among others. Women, as it turns out, seemed to enjoy greater preventative benefits, as well.
The benefits of spicy foods seem to link to the substance capsaicin, which is found in fresh chili peppers. This substance has been reported to have a number of health benefits, including anti-inflammatory, anticancer and antihypertensive properties.

The bottom line is that eating spicy might in fact be a good choice to make. While research is preliminary, those who like heating up their meals may find doing so is good for their health.

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