A recent study conducted by a team of Chinese researchers shows that people who routinely eat spicy foods have a 14 percent reduced risk of dying from all cases than their peers who prefer milder tastes.
Researchers noted that only those eating six or seven times a week spicy dishes displayed the health benefit. The study involved nearly 500,000 Chinese adults from nearly all of the country’s provinces.
Furthermore, the research team also found a significant link between spicy food consumption and reduced risk of death from cancer, heart and lung disease for both male and female participants, and a lower risk of dying from infections in female participants.
Nevertheless, the health benefits dwindled in those consuming alcohol, researchers noted.
The research team acknowledged that the newly found link between eating spicy and prolonged life was only “observational” and more research needs to be conducted. The health benefits may also stem from various factors including life-style choices, income, or other food items.
Study authors explained that the Chinese consume larger quantities of vegetable oil when cooking a chilli-based dish or a chilli sauce. And that oil may have a protective role within the body. And the same goes for the extra rice people eat to relieve the burning sensation of ultra hot foods.
In China, spices have a long tradition of being employed for preserving and flavoring food but also for curing certain ailments.
The recent study which was published this week in the journal BMJ was led by a team of nutritionists from the by Peking University Health Science Center in Beijing.
Its results are consistent with previous research on spicy foods. Past studies had linked pungent foods with various health benefits including weight loss. For instance, the capsaicin found in chillies is believed to accelerate metabolism and thus the body burns calories faster within the first 20 minutes after ingestion.
Other studies had shown that very hot foods can reduce bad cholesterol levels, while the capsaicin in chillies lower inflammatory processes which usually lead to cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke.
Surprisingly past research conducted by American Association for Cancer Research had revealed that the same element in chillies can terminate some cancer cells, while tumeric, a spice found in the Far East cuisine can inhibit tumor growth. And the effect of tumeric can be enhanced 2,000 percent if it is paired with black pepper, researchers found.
Additionally, some studies had suggested that spicy foods can even make you feel good as they rise serotonin levels, or the ‘feel-good’ hormones, in your blood.
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