People who eat spicy food every day are 14 per cent less likely to die prematurely. They are also have a reduced risk for cancer, heart disease or respiratory problems. And those who don't drink alcohol fare even better, say researchers from the Peking University health science centre.
The researchers tracked the health and eating habits of more than 487,000 Chinese men and women, aged between 30 and 79, for seven years. During the study, around 20,000 participants died, and the researchers found a correlation between the days that spicy food was eaten and the risk of dying. Overall, those who ate spicy food every day were 14 per cent less likely to die prematurely-or develop cancer, heart disease or respiratory problems-than those who never ate the food.
In China, chilli pepper is one of the most common spicy foods, and is also used for flavouring, colouring and preserving food.
Previous studies have shown that the bioactive agents in spices have helped prevent cardiovascular and gastrointestinal problems, cancers, diabetes and skin diseases. Spices also have antibacterial properties.
(Source: BMJ, 2015; 351: h3942)