You Need More Spice in Your Life, Literally

Exploring Intensity

You Need More Spice in Your Life, Literally

If you are a bland food lover, then you can skip the rest of this article. If you avoid anything that is one-alarm or up then you are not going to be happy with this new study which says that spices may do much more for your body than just light your palate on fire.

Chinese researchers employed a burly pool of subjects to study the impact of spice — almost 200,000 men and nearly 300,000 women aged 30 to 79 years. The people in the study were tracked for more than seven years on average, and the study showed that those who ate spicy foods often had about a 14% decrease in mortality risk as compared with those who rarely ate spicy foods. And those who spiced up meals just a couple times a week cut their risk of death by 10%.

But, of course, there are some caveats.

One: it is almost impossible to control for all the other variables that lead to lower or higher mortality. Spicy foods apparently helped alleviate certain issues for women but not men — and helped men with some symptoms but not women. Plus, it may not just be any old spicy food, but ones rich in capsaicin and other nutrients. As this article notes, “those who reported eating fresh chili peppers saw a stronger link between the frequency of spice consumption and the risk of death due to cancer, heart disease and diabetes than did volunteers who ate only dried chili pepper, chili sauce, chili oil or other spices.”

Turmeric and cumin have also shown to offer a negative impact on aging with various studies pointing to reductions in cancer risk, inflammation, increased functions of antioxidants, digestion and the spices may even help clear arteries.