Nearly 490,000 men and women, 30 to 79 years old, filled out questionnaires about their general health, physical measurements and eating habits, including consumption of spicy foods, red meat, vegetables and alcohol.
None had a history of cancer, heart disease or stroke at the start of the study, which was conducted in China. During an average 7 years of follow-up, there were more than 20,000 deaths. People who ate spicy foods 1 or 2 days a week had a 10 percent lower risk of death from all causes compared to people who ate spicy foods less than once a week.
Those who ate spicy foods almost every day had a 14 percent lower risk. Frequent consumption of spicy foods was also linked to a reduced risk of death from cancer, heart and respiratory diseases, especially in women. So should you start spicing up your diet to improve your health?
The study authors say no definitive conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect yet. They are calling for more research that in their words may “lead to updated dietary recommendations and development of functional foods.”