Eat Spicy Foods and Live Longer

spicy foods and mortality

Regular consumption of spicy food is “associated” with greater longevity and a lower risk of cancer, coronary and respiratory diseases, according to a Chinese study published Tuesday.”Our analysis showed an inverse correlation between spicy food consumption and overall mortality, as well as selected causes of death (cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease),” say a group of researchers in an article published by the British journal BMJ.In fact, using a sample of nearly half a million Chinese followed over several years, the study shows that “those who eat spicy food almost every day were 14% less chance of dying compared to those who eat spicy food once a week. “This correlation applies to both men and women and is more significant for those who eat spicy and who do not drink alcohol.Similarly, frequent consumption of spicy food is specifically associated with a lower risk of death from cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease.”These results are consistent with previous work showing potential protective effects on human health when eating spicy food,” says the international team led by researchers from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, who signs the article.The main component of chili – the most consumed spice in China- is capsaicin, which, according to the researchers, could have anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer features.But this study is only a matter of “correlation” and “it is not possible to draw a causal conclusion;” on the relation between spicy food and health, the researchers say.Especially that despite the large size of the study sample, this work presents weaknesses, in particular the lack of detailed information on the composition of meals eaten by the participants.”It is unclear whether the observed correlations are the direct result of chili consumption or simply from other positive elements in food that have not been measured,” comments Dr. Nita Forouhi, nutrition specialist and Epidemiologist at the University of Cambridge.This expert – who has no relation to the Chinese study, questions also the fact that there may have been a possible correlation with drinks such as water and tea, consumed in greater quantities by those who eat more chilli.”Further studies are needed to establish whether eating spicy foods can improve health and reduce mortality directly or if it is the consequence of other eating habits or lifestyle choices”.