Previous research has suggested that beneficial effects of spices and their bioactive ingredient, capsaicin, include antiobesity, antioxidant, anti-inflammation and anticancer properties. This research found that participants who ate spicy foods almost every day had a relative 14% lower risk of death compared to those who consumed spicy foods less than once a week. The association was similar in both men and women, and was stronger in those who did not consume alcohol. Further analysis showed that frequent consumption of spicy foods was also linked to a lower risk of death from cancer, and ischaemic heart and respiratory system diseases.
The authors recognised that - being an observational study - no definitive conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, however results suggest that more research to test whether these associations are the direct result of spicy food intake or whether this is a marker for other dietary or lifestyle factors would be worthwhile.