Reader, if you're anything like me, life without spicy food is not a life worth living. You binge Hot Ones and daydream about what the sauces taste like and whether you'd be able to handle the last dab. You live for that temporary panic, that "oh crap" moment when you've added too much wasabi to your sushi and suddenly your nasal passages are ablaze. You tried the fire noodles your roommate brought back from their mid-Quarantine shopping trip from Brooklyn to K Town and ate the remaining package for dinner on a Tuesday, despite the pain of it all.
Although at moments, your stomach may hate your penchant for heat, eating spicy foods may actually do a body good, according to preliminary research, according to a report from the American Heart Association. The early information, which is set to be presented at the organization's Scientific Sessions 2020 showed, among other things, that those who eat chili peppers may live longer lives, with decreased risk of cardiovascular issues or cancer.
While previous studies have shown that the spicy fruit's capsaicin has positive health effects, including its "anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer and blood-glucose regulating effect," researchers analyzed 4,728 studies, which included over 570,000 health records, to come to this conclusion, The Independent reported.
"We were surprised to find that in these previously published studies, regular consumption of chili pepper was associated with an overall risk-reduction of all cause, CVD and cancer mortality. It highlights that dietary factors may play an important role in overall health," Bo Xu, who is the senior author of the study and works as a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic’s Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute said of the findings. Despite these positive indicators is a caveat. “The exact reasons and mechanisms that might explain our findings, though, are currently unknown. Therefore, it is impossible to conclusively say that eating more chili pepper can prolong life and reduce deaths, especially from cardiovascular factors or cancer. More research, especially evidence from randomized controlled studies, is needed to confirm these preliminary findings.”
Although the jury may still be out, I'm going to treat myself to a bag of hot chips anyways -- after all, I am a female born after 1993. It's one of the few things I know.