If you haven't already hopped aboard the Sriracha bandwagon, it might be time to do so — not to be trendy, but to potentially lengthen your life.
An analysis of dietary data on more than 485,000 people found that eating spicy food is associated with a pretty significantly reduced risk of death.
Researchers looked at questionnaire data from about half a million adults across China who participated in a four-year health study, then followed up with them about seven years later.
After controlling for family medical history, age, education, smoking, and other factors, the researchers found that people who ate spicy food just once or twice a week had a 10% reduced risk of death — especially by cancer, ischemic heart diseases and respiratory diseases — compared to those who ate it less than once a week. Upping the chili-heavy consumption to six or seven times a week reduced the risk by 14%.
Why? They're not sure, but they think it might have to do with capsaicin, the main ingredient in chili peppers, which has shown health benefits in other studies. Still, more research needs to be done to make any causal case for the protective effects of tear-inducing chow.
If there does end up being a real connection, "spice up your life" would take on a whole new meaning.