Whatever it is that determines whether we like spicy food – genes, childhood foods, masochistic tendencies – what’s true is that some of us can take it, and some can’t.
But even if the coolest chilli makes you hot around the collar, you might want to consider eating them anyway, as new research has found that spicy food could help you live longer.
A study published in journal PLoS ONE linked red hot chilli peppers with a 13% lower risk of death.
Scientists from the University of Vermont analysed the diets of more than 16,000 American adults using data from the National Health and Examination Survey (NHANES).
One question they paid attention to particularly was “How often did you have hot red chilli peppers?”
And after adjusting for other factors, those that reported eating hot peppers in the past month had a lower mortality rate over a period of 18 years.
Besides making us feel alive in the ‘my mouth is burning’ sense, what’s in them that would make us live longer?
They’re full of nutrients such as pro-A, C and B vitamins, but the researchers also believe capsaicin, an active ingredient in such peppers, could protect against obesity and heart disease.
Despite the survey asking participants about red chillies specifically, capsaicin is also found in all types of hot peppers. Yes, including jalapeños.
The study’s authors concluded: “In this large population-based prospective study, the consumption of hot red chili [sic] pepper was associated with reduced mortality.
“Hot red chili peppers may be a beneficial component of the diet.”
So if you only like food when it’s burning your tongue, you’re in luck – get that Tabasco flowing.
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