Could adding more spice to your life — literally — let you enjoy it for longer? A large population study suggests that it may. After accounting for important variables — like family history, age, and overall diet, exercise, and smoking habits — researchers found a link between eating spicy food and living longer. During the eight-year period of the study, those who ate spicy food once or twice a week were measurably less likely to die — from heart disease, cancer, and respiratory diseases in particular — than those who ate spicy foods less than once a week. Ye olde “correlation doesn’t prove causation” lesson is important to remember here. (In a nutshell: If people who wear red shoes have fewer migraines, that does not mean that red shoes prevent migraines.) But there’s no doubt that chili pepper is loaded with beneficial compounds that have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial effects in the body. Include it and other spices — turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, oregano — in your weekly diet. They’ll benefit your health, and whether or not they extend your life, they’ll make it more delicious!
“Studies show that many different herbs and spices offer health benefits. Most of the evidence exists for cinnamon, chili peppers, turmeric, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary.” says David Heber, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, UCLA