People of the world, spice up your life! (If you don't get that reference, then we're no longer friends).
Turns out, if you want to live a longer life you better start eating more chili peppers.
A four-year study conducted in China — where, according to HealthDay, chili peppers are one of the most popular ingredients — looked at the diets of nearly half a billion people and found that people who ate spicy foods six or seven days a week had a 14 per cent lower risk of mortality compared to those who ate spicy foods less than once a week.
The study, which was published in the British Medical Journal, noted that people who ate fresh chili peppers — as opposed to dried peppers, chili sauce or chili oil — benefited the most.
A January report published in PLOS One also confirmed that eating hot peppers could help you live longer.
Although the study authors noted that no casual connection could be proven, they wrote that capsaicin, the component in peppers which produces that burning sensation when you eat them, has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that may be linked to a decreased risk of cardiovascular, metabolic and lung diseases. Capsaicin is also believed to play a role in obesity prevention and is also used as a tool in prostate cancer treatment and pain relief.
"Although the mechanism by which peppers could delay mortality is far from certain, Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels, which are primary receptors for pungent agents such as capsaicin (the principal component in chili peppers), may in part be responsible for the observed relationship," the study authors wrote.
However, they also note that more research between spicy food and mortality rate needs to be conducted.
"Given the observational nature of both investigations, causality can only be suggested, not confirmed. Further studies should aim to investigate the benefits of other spices and differential effects of certain chili pepper subtypes. Such evidence may lead to new insights into the relationships between diet and health, updated dietary recommendations, and the development of new therapies," they wrote.