How spicy food could help you live longer
Eating spicy food has been linked to living longer.
A study which analysed the food habits and health details of nearly half a million Chinese people found that those who consumed spicy food six or seven days a week had a 14pc reduced risk of dying compared with those who ate it less than once a week.
Eating spicy food was also associated with a lower risk of death due to cancer, ischemic heart diseases and respiratory diseases in both sexes, while in women, it corresponded with a reduced risk of death from infections.
The links were stronger in those who did not consume alcohol.
Researchers stressed that the findings were purely observational, and eating lots of spicy food could also be linked to other dietary habits and lifestyle choices or socio-economic status.
"For example, in Chinese cuisine the cooking of chilli pepper and the production of chilli sauce and oil usually requires more oil, and intake of pungent foods may be accompanied by an increased intake of carbohydrate-rich foods such as rice to relieve the burning sensation," they said.
The study, which is published in the BMJ, said spices have a long history of being used for flavouring, colouring and preserving food - as well as for medicinal purposes.
The research, led by Peking University Health Science Center in Beijing, is in line with previous evidence on the health benefits of spicy foods on human health.