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 as a part of eating clean. If you already love spicy Thai, Mexican or Indian dishes, you now have all the more reason to enjoy them.