The Goodness, It Burns
A massive ten-year study of over 487,000 Chinese adults conducted by Harvard, Oxford and Peking University researchers indicates that eating one or two spicy meals per week reduces one's risk of death from any cause by ten percent compared to those who eat spicy foods less frequently. And the more spicy meals eaten, the greater the benefit; consuming spicy foods six or seven times a week lowers the death rate by another 14 percent. The death risk is lower still for spicy food eaters who drink little or no alcohol. Scientists attribute the benefit, which men and women experience equally, to capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers and in many spicy foods, which is known to reduce unhealthy inflammation and may also neutralize harmful bacteria in the gut.