In Eating Spicy Food Linked to a Longer Life, New York Times columnist, Nicholas Bakalar reports:
“Eating spicy food is associated with a reduced risk for death, an analysis of dietary data on more than 485,000 people found” (Bakalar, 2015).
The study focused on participants between 2004-2008 in a large Chinese health study. The original study can be found in the British Medical Journal.
The researchers factored in patient age, medical/family history, education, diabetes, smoking and other variables. They found that when eating hot food (mainly from chili peppers), patients having it 1-2x a week had a 10% risk for death. Eating spicy food 6-7 times per week reduced the risk by 14 percent.
“Rates of ischemic heart disease, respiratory diseases and cancers were all lower in hot-food eaters. The authors drew no conclusions about cause and effect, but they noted that capsaicin, the main ingredient in chili peppers, had been found in other studies to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects” (Bakalar, 2015).
Dr. Lu Qi from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reports that “We need more evidence, especially from clinical trials, to further verify these findings…and we are looking forward to seeing data from other populations.”
Gina Volsko RDN, LD is the SCAN blog coordinator, email her firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about blogging for SCAN.