Eating spicy food could help you live LongerPosted: January 19, 2017
Whether you’re obsessed with salsa or siracha, it’s time to load up on spicy food if you want to live longer, according to new research. A study published in the journal PLoS ONE linked red hot chilli peppers with a 13% lower risk of death – and we’re guzzling down the curry as we type.
Using data from the National Health and Examination Survey (NHANES), scientists from the University of Vermont analyzed the diets of over 16,000 American adults. Specifically, they looked at the question, “How often did you have hot red chilli peppers?” Those who reported eating any hot peppers in the past month had a lower mortality rate over a period of 18 years, after adjusting for other factors.
While it’s difficult to prove a direct cause-and-effect between the two, these results don’t stand alone. Two more studies, one from India and another from China, have also connected spicy foods with longevity. That’s good news for your Chipotle order.
So what’s so magical about chilli peppers? Besides nutrients like B, C and pro-A vitamins, the researchers believe an active ingredient called capsaicin protects against both heart disease and obesity. And although the survey asked about red chillies specifically, capsaicin is found in all types of hot peppers, including jalapeños, habaneros and cayenne. It’s what gives them their heat!
Peppers can also help you out right now, if you’re looking to lose a few pounds, that is. “While the jury is still out on whether or not spicy foods can actually give us a metabolic boost, there’s no doubt that eating spicy foods may also have a weight loss benefit,” says Jaclyn London, R.D., Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute. “That’s because when we consume foods with heat, the natural tendency is to slow down while we eat (since it’s tough to race through anything with hot peppers!), helping us stay in touch with satiety signals and really stop when we’re full — not stuffed.”
Living longer and hitting those weight loss goals? Chilies for the win!