If you’re one of those lovely people who thinks the best food ought give you a cold sweat, then I’ve got great news for you! Science says that you (as long as you’re indulging) will live longer. In fact, if you indulge daily with your favorite nose-faucet on-switch, you can lower your mortality risk by an estimated 14 percent! From just helping your drop a few pounds, to preventing (knock-on-wood) cancer, eating your daily dose of capsaicin has a plethora of effects.

Drop a Few Pounds

Whether it’s your favorite spicy soup dumpling or traveling halfway across the world for the slow burning sweet chili heat of a Ddeokbokki, eating your favorite chili rich foods (or just dropping a few chilies into your regular diet) will help you drop a few of the ol’ L-Bs. It’s a super healthy side effect that can aid an already healthy diet. This works when capsaicin increases the amount of saliva and gastrointestinal juices. This can aid in digestion, increase your heart-rate, and improve overall circulation. This combination of effects super-boost your metabolism and lengthen your life. Not only that, but people consume about 75 fewer calories after eating red chili peppers compared to bland food (this is only true if it’s a new thing) and it can reduce cravings for fatty, salty, or sweet foods.

They can even increase the number and activity of brown fat cells (which are crazy awesome good for you!). Be glad you turned up the heat on dinner tonight, because brown fat will burn out all of the ordinary fat. It used to be thought that brown fat was only in infants and hibernating mammals, but after some CT scans of full grown adults, there are pockets of brown fat spread throughout the body. They fire up layers of fat, and keep us warm. If you want to start burning calories like a tiny furnace, try a high carb, low fat diet full of spices of course!

Prevent the Dreaded C-Word

Cancer. The C-word is cancer. Eating chili peppers can reduce your risk of cancer. Pour on that sriracha sauce and keep the spice coming, because the active ingredient in peppers will literally make tumor cells commit suicide. If you want cancer cells in your body to commit harakiri, try laying up habanero peppers on top of pasta, no oil, all carby spicy deliciousness, cancer killing nonsense (and firing up the brown fat in your body).  It’s been known for about a decade to kill prostate cancer cells (and slow the growth of tumors by about 80 percent).

By lodging in the membrane of cancer cells, capsaicin will cause the membrane to come apart and the cancer cell will die off. But to meet the huge quantities known to kill other cancer cells in mice you would have to eat HUGE amounts of peppers, so it’s great as a preventative measure, but not as a treatment. Remember that the next time someone snaps at you for drowning your food in hot sauce, you’re not only staying lean, your preventing cancer. You are winning at life by eating like you really want!


Not dying is the best benefit of all. Reducing your risk of heart disease, cancer, lowering blood pressure, anger levels, and losing flab all add up, and give people who eat chilies between 3-7 days a week a 14 percent lowered mortality risk. That’s a big number when talking about a larger population of people, and that’s a big difference for individuals, even quitting smoking only sees a 36 percent lowered mortality risk as compared to continued heavy smoking. Aren’t you glad you ordered extra hot on your curry last night?

We all love not dying, but what are you going to do with your extra time alive? Exploring the spiciest wasabi farms in Japan, or losing your luggage in Burma (where the national dish is a pile of chilies and cheese). You are a chili eating champion, who treats pepper like any other vegetable on the table, and has such hot fire breathe, you could compete with a dragon. Enjoy your time, because your favorite snack is helping you not die (or at least a 14 percent less chance of dying).

Peppers are amazing for you. They make you slim, reduce your risk of cancer, and help you not die (and possibly become immortal and ride a unicorn into the clouds). It hasn’t been dis-proven yet. Slim, hot, cancer free you can ride into the future on a sriracha cloud of dreams.

Featured photo credit: Adam Baker via flickr.com

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