Study links chili peppers to longer life

A new study linking red hot chili peppers to a longer life is making the rounds. But before you start putting them in every meal, you might want to take the study with a grain of salt.

Researchers with the University of Vermont analyzed over 16,000 Americans through government data that kept tabs on them for an average of about 19 years.

The data showed the death rate for those who ate chili peppers was around 13 percent lower than people who didn't.

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The researchers admit the study shows a correlation, not a cause, so we can't point to chili peppers as the sole reason people were more likely to live longer.

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Other health indicators for chili pepper eaters, as a group, were varied. They tended to eat more vegetables and have lower cholesterol, but they also tended to drink, smoke and have lower incomes.

Also, chili pepper eaters were often younger, which could skew the risk of death.

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When the researchers separated the data by cause of death, red chili peppers were less of a factor. Vascular disease was the only cause of death where the pepper's health benefits came close to being statistically significant.

Still, the researchers argue the study supports Chinese research from 2015 that linked spicy foods to a lower risk of death.

Other experimental research has found the capsaicin in spicy foods can help fight obesity, cancer and inflammation.