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Study: Eating Hot Peppers Extends Lifespan by 13 Years

Updated on January 17, 2017

Two girls take the hot pepper challenge and lose.

Want to live a lot longer?

A hot topic by researchers published Jan. 9, in plos.org suggests eating hot peppers may extend one’s lifespan more than a decade. Scientists analyzed the association of hot peppers and longevity using population-based specifics from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) III. Researchers studied representative samples of US noninstitutionalized adults surveyed from 1988 to 1994. Macro/micronutriential and gastronomical aspects of the tongue–numbing spice were investigated, lending credence to the theory that consumption of hot red chili peppers adds many years to one's life.

Benefits of spices goes back to medieval times

Anyone throwing together a pot of spaghetti knows peppers and other spices are used to color, flavor and preserve foods, but few understand the medicinal value of hot peppers and other spices. However, Hippocrates and Galen theorized spices help restore the “humoral imbalances responsible for disease and illness” way back in medieval times.

Hot peppers served alone can be painfully overwhelming
Hot peppers served alone can be painfully overwhelming | Source

Net reduction of mortality is 13 percent

Researchers report that total mortality for 6,179 participants who ingested hot red chili peppers in their diet was 21.6% compared to 33.6% for those who did not consume hot peppers. The study showed a mortality reduction of 12% and a relative risk factor of 0.64, with a net risk reduction of 13%. While eating red peppers is associated with longevity, researches do not advise eating the spice by itself because they’re hot, hot, hot! More importantly, consumption of hot peppers can summon a waterfall of tears, create nausea and in some cases induce allergenic reactions.

Hot peppers being prepared for garnishing.

Source

Researchers found that persons who consume the most significant quantities of hot peppers (compared participants who do not) were more likely to be younger, male, white, Mexican-American and married. More of these subjects smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and consume more vegetables and meats. Interestingly their HDL-cholesterol was lower despite having a lower income and less education.

Researchers who conducted the study hope more focused investigations of hot peppers and other spices will provide additional insights that would introduce updated dietary recommendations. For what it’s worth, the study suggests consumers evaluate their tolerance level before ingesting raw hot peppers to avoid hacking, puking or accidently introducing the mega-hot substance to eye tissue.

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