Spicy Foods May Be Giving You Life — Literally

Photographed by ERIN PHRANER.
Great news, spicy-food fans: New research suggests you might be adding some years (and, yes, spice) to your life with every extra squirt of Sriracha, reports Grub Street.

In the study, published yesterday in the BMJ, researchers surveyed 199,293 men and 288,082 women beginning in 2004. Researchers kept up-to-date about how frequently participants ate spicy foods and tracked those participants' health issues through 2013.

Results showed that those who ate spicy foods at least once per week showed a 10% reduced mortality risk compared to those who didn't eat them as frequently. That effect was more pronounced when participants ate the good stuff more than once per week. While the effect showed up when researchers lumped all causes of death together, it was particularly pronounced for mortality risk due to cancer, respiratory diseases, and heart diseases. But, the pattern was stronger for those who also didn't drink alcohol (sorry).

Of course, this was just a correlation, so there's no way to know for sure yet that the spicy goodness was responsible for the participants' reduced mortality risk. Still, other research has shown that components of spicy food — namely capsaicin — may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. So, even if it doesn't stave off your inevitable end, there's still hope that tonight's spicy tuna roll will be way more than just delicious.

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