Longer life link with spicy food

A University of Vermont study suggests capsaicin found in chilli peppers may help promote longevity.

As featured in the Telegraph, data from 16,000 US men over a period of 19 years were included in the study.  Over that time, 34% of the men died, but when cross-referenced for chilli pepper consumption, the percentage fell to only 22%.  The researchers hypothesise that this may be related to capsaicin, a compound found in chili peppers, which creates the feeling of ‘heat’ when eaten but has also been applied in medicine as a painkiller and treatment for arthritis.

Dr Benjamin Litternberg, co-author of the study, pointed to the results of a larger study of 500,000 Chinese participants which showed a similar impact on longevity, and drew attention to the relatively low rates of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases in the group which consumed chilli peppers regularly.  Dr Litternberg emphasised that the University of Vermont study showed only correlation, rather than causation, and so more research will be required.  He added: “There’s a whole bunch of better, stronger, more convincing ways to improve your health than to go on a chilli pepper diet.”

We at the BLF couldn’t agree more.  By all means do work in a varied, healthy diet (possibly including chilli peppers), but it’s important to fit in regular exercise, eat a balanced diet, and limit alcohol intake among other things.  If you are looking for culinary inspiration, why not check out a new recipe for this cold January from sites like BBC Food?