Eating hot peppers and other spicy food may help you live longer

Good News, Hot Pepper-Lovers: Eating Spicy Food May Help You Live Longer!

If you enjoy eating spicy foods, this news should excite you! Researchers at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont recently discovered an association between eating hot peppers and living longer. According to the report, Professor of Medicine Benjamin Littenberg, M.D. and medical student Mustafa Chopan examined a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 16,000 Americans taken over the course of 23 years and noticed a "13 percent reduction in total mortality" in those who frequently ate red chili peppers.

While Littenberg and Chopan admit that eating spicy food is "far from certain" to delay mortality, they do believe it could help prevent health-related deaths caused by obesity. The authors also believe capsaicin, an active agent found in red chili peppers, could act as an antimicrobial which fights against bacteria and viruses in the body.

Chopan says although inconclusive, their red chili pepper study could be used for future research "in the form of clinical trials" and potentially "become a dietary recommendation" to help us all live longer. Sounds like a win-win situation for hot sauce-lovers!

© POPSUGAR Photography / Sheila Gim. Study Shows Hot Peppers Associated With Decreased Mortality

Eat Peppers, Live Longer?

Eating hot chili peppers may help you live longer.

A new analysis, in PLoS One, corroborates findings from an earlier study of spicy food that was conducted in China and published in 2015.

The new report used data on 16,179 American men and women participating in a larger public health study.

There were 4,946 deaths over the 23 years of the study. After controlling for age, sex, smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and other health, diet and behavioral characteristics, they found that those who reported eating hot peppers had a 13 percent reduced risk for dying early.

The authors had no information about the quantities of peppers people ate. The study is observational, and therefore no causal connection can be proven.


Still, they write, capsaicin, the substance that gives peppers their punch, has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that may be linked to disease prevention.

Should you eat more hot peppers?

“The evidence isn’t strong enough to make me change my diet,” said a co-author of the study, Benjamin Littenberg, a professor of medicine at the University of Vermont. “Don’t smoke, limit calories, don’t drink to excess, get a flu shot every year — those are things we have very convincing evidence will help you live longer. I don’t know how much chili pepper to tell you to eat.”

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