New analysis in the medical journal, PLOS One, has strengthened the conclusions of a Chinese study completed in 2015 on the consumption of spicy foods with regards to longevity. The new report was done in the United States and used data from over 16,179 adult age American citizens that were part of a larger healthy study. Over the course of 23 years, the researchers recorded 4,946 deaths of the 16,179 participants that they tracked.
Controlled factors in the study included major health determinants such as the age of an individual, their gender, whether they smoked or not, their blood pressure levels, their cholesterol level and whether they had any chronic diseases such as diabetes among other key factors. After taking these controlled factors into account, the medical researchers at PLOS One found that participants who consumed spicy foods such as hot peppers had an overall reduced early mortality rate of up to 13%. This translates into a significantly increased lifespan among those who consumed spicy peppers such as chilies and habeneros as well as other spicy foods.
No questions were posed to the participants of the survey on the amount of hot peppers or spicy foods that they consumed. Furthermore, since the study was observational, no concrete link can be made to confirm that the spicy peppers and foods were the exact reason for the reduced early death rate among spicy food consumers. Given this technicality aside, you can make a pretty safe bet that eating hot peppers and other spices may increase your lifespan even though no hard link can be proven in the PLOS One study. It is an encouraging sign though.
Despite not being able to prove that the peppers were responsible for the increased lifespan, the researchers did prove another benefit on the consumption of hot peppers. Capsaicin, which is the substance that givers peppers their hot taste, has been found to have strong anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. This can help explain why the consumers of spicy peppers lived longer than their non pepper eating counterparts. Capsaicin kills germs and thus makes it less likely that people will fall ill to diseases such as the flu or cold during the winter. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve pain and help promote a more active lifestyle.