Spicing Your Food Could Help Lower your Cancer Mortality Risk

Regularly using spices in food may have a profound effect in the reduction of an adult’s mortality risk in heart disease, diabetes and cancer, a new research study has revealed. Its findings were published in the medical journal, The BMJ.

According to Lu Qi, MD, PhD, who is an associate professor of medicine at Boston’s Harvard Medical School, the research team conducted both a health history and dietary survey among 288,082 women and 199,293 men gathered from 10 different regions in China, all of them between ages 30 and 79. None of them had any prior history of heart disease, cancer or stroke.

The study involved a median follow-up period of 7 years, during the time which 20,224 of the participants succumbed to their ailments.

The research revealed that eating spiced foods once or twice per week could lead to a reduction of 10% in the overall mortality risk of the participants’ illnesses, compared to eating spiced foods less than once per week. In addition, eating such foods for between 3-7 days a week was associated with a mortality drop of up to 14%.

One of the most popularly used spicy foods which is also specifically linked to a large drop in the risk of dying from cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease is fresh chili peppers.

There were no notable differences between the two genders, suggesting that eating spicy foods affected both men and women in similar ways when it comes to threat from these diseases. Similarly, even after variations in age, education, marital status and sedentary life patterns were accounted for no differences were noted. However, non-drinkers of alcohol were found to experience the protective effect of spicy food more than alcohol drinkers.

Professor Qi also added that despite the fact that human studies are sparse, all these mechanisms could possibly be factors contributing to the protective effect that was noted in their research, something which may also equally apply to other human populations as well.

Lu Qi is also an associate professor of nutrition & epidemiology at Boston’s Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health.


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Adnan Kubi

Adnan Kubi

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