Spicy foods – love ‘em or hate ‘em now there’s a reason to eat more regardless of your preference.
A new Harvard University study found eating spicy foods may lower your risk for premature death.
Researchers found adults who reported eating spicy foods — such as fresh and dried chili pepper — as little as three days per week were less likely to die during the study period than those who consumed such foods less than once a week.
“The finding is very simple,” said study lead author Dr. Lu Qi, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston. “If you eat more spicy food, it’s better for your health and lowers the risk for mortality, especially as it relates to cancer and heart disease.”
Between 2004 and 2008, the study authors conducted dietary and health history surveys among roughly 199,000 men and 288,000 women.
The key finding was that eating fresh spicy foods as little as once or twice a week was associated with a 10 percent drop in the overall risk for death during the study, compared with eating such foods less than once weekly.
Eating spicy foods between three and seven days per week appeared to lower mortality by as much as 14 percent, the authors reported.
And fresh chili peppers were specifically linked to a lower risk of dying as a result of cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Now, the researches in this study were not able to draw a direct cause-and-effect link between the consumption of spicy foods and lower mortality.
They could only find an association between these factors.
But, Dr. Qi noted the study’s purpose was simply to identify the associated impact of spicy diets, not to decode exactly how spices might offer protection against illness and death.
Why Do Spicy Foods Extend Longevity
Spicy foods are high in antioxidants, which could protect you from cancer and heart disease.
Specifically, a compound found exclusively in spicy foods known as capsaicin is shown to help fight inflammation, which is one of the root causes of most disease.
Capsaicin hosts a plethora of other benefits including…
- Cancer fighting properties
- Pain Relief
- Prevention of sinus infections and congestion relief
- Soothing of intestinal diseases
- Fat burning effects
- Heart protection
Peppers are also a good source of vitamin C, a potential cancer-fighting agent.
Vitamin C is needed for collagen and connective tissue formation. It’s used to manufacture glutathione, the most powerful antioxidant in the body. Vitamin C can enhance immune function and help quench free radical damage as well.
So you can see how each of these benefits of spicy foods may contribute to a healthy you, leading to a longevity and vitality.
Try adding in spicy foods to your weekly meal regime and reap the benefits they offer.
Source: SOURCES: Lu Qi, M.D., Ph.D., FAHA, associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, and associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston; Lona Sandon, R.D., assistant professor of clinical nutrition, department of clinical nutrition, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas; Aug. 4, 2015, BMJ, online