An international study led by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences found some interesting results potentially linking the daily consumption of spicy foods to a lower risk of death. The researchers discovered that consuming spicy foods one or two days a week reduced participants’ risk of death from cancer, heart and respiratory system diseases by 10% compared with participants who consumed spicy foods less than once a week. Those who ate spicy foods such as fresh or dried chiles three to seven days a week reduced their risk by 14%.
It’s the active ingredients in chile that are believed to have beneficial effects: Fresh chile is rich in the anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting antioxidant capsaicin and the heart-healthy antioxidant vitamin C. Experts say that further research is required to determine whether there is a direct link between spicy foods and good health or whether those who frequently consume spicy foods practice other beneficial dietary or lifestyle habits. The bottom line: Try incorporating more heat into your meals. If you already love spicy Thai, Mexican or Indian dishes, you now have all the more reason to enjoy them.
What is it about spicy foods? The study points to the benefits of capsaicin, a bioactive ingredient in chili peppers, which has been linked to health perks such as increased fat burning. Folk medicine practitioners also say capsaicin can help fight infection and stimulate the kidneys, lungs and heart.
Although I believe everything in moderation, so if you're up for adding a bit of spice to your food, there are definitely some health benefits!
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