Spicy food may lower risk of death, says China study

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Eat­ing spicy food, es­pe­cially fresh chili, has been linked to a lower risk of death in a Chi­nese study, re­searchers said Tues­day.

But they cau­tioned it was too early to draw a fi­nal con­clu­sion on the po­ten­tial ben­e­fits of fiery fare, and urged fur­ther re­search that may lead to “up­dated di­etary rec­om­men­da­tions.”

The study, pub­lished in The BMJ jour­nal, col­lected di­etary data from nearly 490,000 peo­ple, aged 30 to 79, in main­land China.

They were en­rolled be­tween 2004 and 2008, and their health mon­i­tored for an av­er­age of seven years. Just over 20,000 par­tici- pants died in the pe­riod.

“Com­pared with par­tic­i­pants who ate spicy foods less than once a week, those who con­sumed spicy foods one or two days a week were at a 10 per­cent re­duced risk of death,” said a state­ment from The BMJ.

And those who ate spicy foods al­most ev­ery day, “had a rel­a­tive 14 per­cent lower risk of death com­pared to those who con­sumed spicy foods less than once a week.”

The as­so­ci­a­tion was sim­i­lar in men and women, and stronger in those who did not con­sume al­co­hol.

Fresh and dried chili pep­pers were the most com­monly used spices — and the as­so­ci­a­tion was higher with the fresh va­ri­ety, ac­cord­ing to the team led by re­searchers at the Chi­nese Academy of Med­i­cal Sciences.

The an­swer may be found in an in­gre­di­ent of spices — cap­saicin, which has pre­vi­ously been sug­gested to pos­sess anti- obe­sity, anti- ox­i­dant, anti- in­flam­ma­tion and anti-can­cer prop­er­ties.

The team urged “fur­ther prospec­tive stud­ies in other pop­u­la­tions,” that may lead to di­etary rec­om­men­da­tions and “de­vel­op­ment of func­tional foods, such as herbal sup­ple­ments.”

In a com­ment, Kevin McCon­way of the Open Univer­sity urged against jump­ing to con­clu­sions.

“If peo­ple who eat spicy food more of­ten have lower death rates, that might in­deed be caused by the chili eat­ing, or it might be caused by some­thing dif­fer­ent that is re­lated to eat­ing chilies and also, sep­a­rately, hap­pens to pro­mote health.”

“Maybe this is some­thing in the way spices are used in Chi­nese cook­ing, or re­lated to other things peo­ple eat or drink with the spicy food. Maybe it has some­thing to do with the sort of peo­ple, in China, who tend to eat more spicy food.”

Peo­ple who ate more chili were, for ex­am­ple, more likely to live in ru­ral ar­eas.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.