On very rare occasions, scientists publish information about food and your health that you actually want to hear. This is one of those rare times: according to a study published in The BMJ this week, regularly eating spicy foods may help you live longer.
Using the dietary data of nearly 500,000 people from China over the course of a little more than seven years, researchers found that people who ate spicy foods once or twice a week had a 10 percent lower risk of death than those who didn’t. Participants who ate spicy foods three to seven times a week had as much as a 14 percent lower risk of death.
Don’t reach for your Sriracha keychain just yet, though. While the study proves a link between longevity and spicy foods, it does not prove causation. What it does do is highlight a correlation between eating foods that fry your tastebuds and a lower risk of death from cancer, heart and respiratory diseases.
The study’s authors also suggest that capsaicin–the molecule in chili peppers which binds to pain receptors on your tongue and is responsible for the feeling that it’s on fire–may be the source of this good news.
Of course, there’s always a catch: the link was stronger for participants who also didn’t drink alcohol.
Son of a…