Eat that hot stuff — live longer!


Spicy chicken curryFotolia

Regular consumption of spicy foods linked to lower risk of early death: Data suggest most benefit from eating spices regularly throughout the week…

Previous research has suggested that beneficial effects of spices and their bioactive ingredient, capsaicin, include anti-obesity, antioxidant, anti-inflammation and anticancer properties.

So an international team led by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences examined the association between consumption of spicy foods as part of a daily diet and the total risk and causes of death.

They undertook a prospective study of 487,375 participants, aged 30-79 years, from the China Kadoorie Biobank. Participants were enrolled between 2004-2008 and followed up for morbidities and mortality.

All participants completed a questionnaire about their general health, physical measurements, and consumption of spicy foods, and red meat, vegetable and alcohol.

Participants with a history of cancer, heart disease, and stroke were excluded from the study, and factors such as age, marital status, level of education, and physical activity were accounted for…

Compared with participants who ate spicy foods less than once a week, those who consumed spicy foods 1 or 2 days a week were at a 10% reduced risk of death (hazard ratios for death was 0.90). And those who ate spicy foods 3 to 5 and 6 or 7 days a week were at a 14% reduced risk of death (hazard ratios for death 0.86, and 0.86 respectively).*

In other words, participants who ate spicy foods almost every day had a relative 14% lower risk of death compared to those who consumed spicy foods less than once a week.

The association was similar in both men and women, and was stronger in those who did not consume alcohol.

Frequent consumption of spicy foods was also linked to a lower risk of death from cancer, and ischaemic heart and respiratory system diseases, and this was more evident in women than men.

Fresh and dried chilli peppers were the most commonly used spices in those who reported eating spicy foods weekly, and further analysis showed those who consumed fresh chilli tended to have a lower risk of death from cancer, ischaemic heart disease, and diabetes.

Of course, the first [small] point of correction/disagreement is spelling. In New Mexico, the word is “chile”. Aside from that, as a science geek, I understand more study is needed before correlation becomes causation. Still I’m pretty happy that one of the main condimentos in my version of Mediterranean cuisine stretches East to Vietnamese-style garlic-chile sauce. My fave being Tuong Ot Toi Viet Nam from Huy Fong Foods.


The big jar is the 8.5 lb. size — woo-hoo!

20 thoughts on “Eat that hot stuff — live longer!

  1. Chimayóso says:

    “Is the chilli pepper friend or foe?” (BBC 10/5/15) http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34411492 “…There is only one mammal that enthusiastically eats chillies. “Humans come into the Western hemisphere about 20,000 years ago,” says Paul Bosland from New Mexico State University. “And they come into contact with a plant that gives them pain – it hurts them. Yet five separate times, chilli peppers were domesticated in the Western hemisphere because humans found some usefulness – and I think it was their medicinal use.”
    The potential for both health and harm has always been a defining characteristic of chilli peppers, and among scientists, doctors and nutritionists it remains a matter of some dispute which prevails.
    A huge study, published this summer in the British Medical Journal, seemed to indicate that a diet filled with spices – including chillies – was beneficial for health.”

  2. Wuss says:

    Ghost Pepper tears a hole in a man’s esophagus and sends him to the hospital for 23 days https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/10/18/he-ate-an-extremely-spicy-ghost-pepper-hours-later-doctors-found-a-hole-in-his-throat/
    “…In the operating room, a full left thoracotomy was performed, and on entering the mediastinum, a mediastinal fluid collection was identified, containing “hamburger, onions, and other green vomitus material,” as well as a 2.5-cm tear in the distal esophagus. A gastric tube and two left-sided chest tubes were placed. After surgical repair, the patient was admitted to the intensive care unit. The patient’s hospital course was complicated by a right-sided pleural effusion, for which an additional chest tube was placed. He remained intubated until hospital day 14, began tolerating liquids on hospital day 17, and was discharged home with a gastric tube in place on hospital day 23. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0736467916302566

  3. Ha-cha-cha-cha says:

    January 13, 2017: “Study finds association between eating hot peppers and decreased mortality” (Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont) https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-01/uov-sfa011317.php “Like spicy food? If so, you might live longer, say researchers at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont, who found that consumption of hot red chili peppers is associated with a 13 percent reduction in total mortality – primarily in deaths due to heart disease or stroke — in a large prospective study.
    The study was published recently in PLoS ONE.” See also “The Association of Hot Red Chili Pepper Consumption and Mortality: A Large Population-Based Cohort Study” http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0169876

  4. Zhēn bàng says:

    “Spicy food may curb unhealthy cravings for salt” (American Heart Association) https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-10/aha-sfm102617.php
    “Chinese subjects who enjoyed spicy foods appeared to eat less salt and have lower blood pressure, potentially reducing their risk of heart attack and stroke, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension.
    “Previously, a pilot study found that trace amounts of capsaicin, the chemical that gives chili peppers their pungent smell, enhanced the perception of food being salty,” said senior study author Zhiming Zhu, M.D., professor and director of the Department of Hypertension and Endocrinology at the Third Military Medical University in Chongqing, China. “We wanted to test whether this effect would also reduce salt consumption.”
    Scroll down for additional resources.

  5. Picante says:

    “Tree shrew tolerance for spicy foods unlocked by researchers” (National Science Foundation of China 7/13/18) https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-07/caos-tst071318.php
    “Chiliheads and the capsaicin craving” http://theexaminer.com/stories/news/chiliheads-and-capsaicin-craving
    “Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, identified a region of a protein that appears to regulate the temperature at which heat is detected. The protein, a capsaicin receptor, may set the “thermostat” of the nerve cell. The findings, published in Science, could eventually lead to new drugs to treat chronic pain and may help explain why individuals respond differently to heat and painful stimuli, including hot peppers.” http://www.genomenewsnetwork.org/articles/05_03/chili.php

  6. Yowser says:

    In Morocco there grows a cactus-like plant that’s so hot, I have to insist that the next few sentences aren’t hyperbole. On the Scoville Scale of hotness, its active ingredient, resiniferatoxin, clocks in at 16 billion units. That’s 10,000 times hotter than the Carolina reaper, the world’s hottest pepper, and 45,000 times hotter than the hottest of habaneros, and 4.5 million times hotter than a piddling little jalapeno. Euphorbia resinifera, aka the resin spurge, is not to be eaten. Just to be safe, you probably shouldn’t even look at it.
    But while that toxicity will lay up any mammal dumb enough to chew on the resin spurge, resiniferatoxin has also emerged as a promising painkiller. Inject RTX, as it’s known, into an aching joint, and it’ll actually destroy the nerve endings that signal pain. Which means medicine could soon get a new tool to help free us from the grasp of opioids. https://www.wired.com/story/resiniferatoxin/ Besides simply being effective, RTX has numerous benefits over existing painkillers: It doesn’t require frequent dosing, targets only the area causing pain, and doesn’t produce a potentially addictive high.

  7. ''M'm! M'm! Good!'' says:

    ‘Fox & Friends’ Guest on Pepper-Spray Used on Migrants: You Can Eat It on Nachos! https://www.thedailybeast.com/fox-and-friends-guest-on-pepper-spraying-migrants-you-can-eat-it-on-nachos
    Pepper spray is made from oleoresin capsicum (OC)—which gives chili peppers their heat—but the kind used by law-enforcement officers also may, as Ronald Colburn, founder of the Border Patrol Foundation noted, include alcohol, halogenated hydrocarbons, or propellants. Those chemicals, which are frequently used in sprays, can reportedly cause “adverse cardiac, respiratory, and neurologic effects, including arrhythmias and sudden death,” according to a joint 2004 study from Duke University and the University of North Carolina.
    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration concluded in 1996 “that exposure to OC spray during training constituted an unacceptable health risk” for police officers and that some officers reported related injuries that lasted more than a week, including chest pain, loss of consciousness, and acute eye pain.

  8. Fox News says:

    “Tennessee man accused of dipping testicles in customer’s salsa” (2/27/19) https://www.foxnews.com/food-drink/tennessee-man-accused-of-dipping-testicles-in-customers-salsa “Howard Webb, 31, was with a driver for Dinner Delivered, a food delivery service, on Jan. 12 when he allegedly put his testicles in an order of salsa that a customer had ordered from a Mexican restaurant in Maryville, WBIR-TV reported.”
    Reportedly Mr. Webb remains in jail after being taken into custody and faces a felony charge of adulteration of food, liquids or pharmaceuticals. https://www.wbir.com/article/news/crime/nasty-delivery-man-accused-of-obscene-gesture-involving-customers-food/51-6fbfdadc-59fd-4232-8381-6f827acf8244

  9. "Hot-cha-cha!" says:

    “Could hot chili peppers reduce mortality risk? According to a recent study, people who regularly consume chili peppers have a reduced mortality risk compared with those who never eat chilis.” https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327324.php#1
    See also “Chili Pepper Consumption and Mortality in Italian Adults” (Journal of the American College of Cardiology) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0735109719382063?via%3Dihub

    Famous last words: “Wish I had time for just one more bowl of chili.” (Christopher Houston ‘Kit’ Carson, 1809~1868)

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