The science bit

by Andrew Gregory, Health Editor

Spicy food can make you live longer, according to a new study in the British Medical Journal this week. Experts monitored 500,000 people and found that those who ate spicy dishes once or twice a week are 10% less likely to die than those who have them less often. And if you have spicy foods every day you are 14% less likely to die.

Spicy food was defined as dishes using fresh chilli, dried chilli, chilli oil and chilli sauce – which is why these are included here.

The experts from the China Academy of Medical Sciences also found that regular spicy food lovers are less likely to die if they developed diabetes, cancer, heart or respiratory disease.

This is thought to be because the food contains capsaicin which has anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Beware – drinking alcohol might negate some benefits.