Here’s one more reason to eat hot foods liberally if you enjoy them: Eating a lot of chili peppers was linked to a lower risk of dying in a study of nearly 23,000 Italian adults, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The researchers analyzed data from a cohort of men and women ages 35 and older living in a southern Mediterranean region in Italy. Participants who reported eating chili peppers regularly—defined as at least four times a week—were less likely to die from any cause or from cardiovascular disease (CVD), ischemic heart disease, or cerebrovascular disease over an average of eight years than people who ate chilis rarely or never.
The link was independent of other cardiovascular risk factors or how closely the person adhered to a Mediterranean diet overall. Since the study was observational, however, it can’t establish causality; randomized trials would be needed to establish whether chilis or capsaicin (the ingredient that gives them their “heat”) really have benefits.
Also see How to Handle Chili Peppers.