Mexican, Thai, Indian — the list of popular spicy cuisines goes on and on. You may be pleased to know that the vindaloo you ate at lunch or the chicken fajitas you had for dinner may be adding years to your life.
A new study published in the British Medical Journal found that regular consumption of spicy foods is associated with a lower risk of death. The study tracked about 490,000 people in China, where spicy foods are very common. The participants were followed for a mean of 7.2 years and submitted answers to a series of questionnaires that provided details about their health, diet, and consumption of spicy foods.
The results showed that people who ate spicy foods one to two times a week had a 10 percent lower risk of death than those who rarely ate spicy foods; those who ate spicy foods three to seven times a week had a 14 percent lower risk of death. Specifically, consumption of spicy foods was correlated with a lower risk of death from health problems such as cancer, heart diseases, and respiratory diseases.
The researchers agree that more information is necessary before associating spicy foods with “total and disease specific mortality.” In the study, they wrote that the benefits of capsaicin, a molecule found in many spicy foods, “have been extensively reported in relation to anti-obesity, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-hypertensive effects.”
Interested in trying hot and spicy recipes but unsure where to start? Here are some healthy and flavorful recipes for you to try.
Enlightened Spicy Avocado DipClick here for the Enlightened Spicy Avocado Dip recipe.
Grilled Orange-Ginger Chicken Recipe
This versatile Asian marinade of orange and soy sauce with sesame seed, ginger, and crushed red pepper is great on chicken as well as flank steak and pork tenderloin. Massaging the marinade into the meat for just five minutes gives you maximum flavor without needing marinating time in the refrigerator. Click here for the Grilled Orange-Ginger Chicken recipe.