SpicesHot foods were a hot topic for this interesting medical study.

See what we did there?

Experimental, or small population studies, over time have shown health benefits of spices and their bioactive ingredients. For example:

These findings were significant enough to warrant more robust research.

Thus, from 2004 to 2008, a cohort of over 500,000 people from the China Kadoorie Biobank was studied by researchers from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. This study examined “the associations between the regular consumption of spicy foods and total and cause specific mortality.”

…We observed an inverse association between consumption of spicy foods and total mortality, after adjusting for potential confounders. Compared with those who ate spicy foods less than once a week, those who consumed spicy foods almost every day had a 14% lower risk of death…

Although this study had major strengths, such as large sample size, cohort design, and careful control for established and potential risk factors for death, cultural weaknesses call for additional research.  According to the study, “consumption of spicy foods may be correlated with other dietary habits and lifestyle behaviors…lack of detailed dietary information in this study limited our ability to comprehensively adjust for total energy intake and other specific dietary factors. In addition, spicy food consumption may be correlated with socioeconomic status.”

This “analyses showed significant inverse associations between spicy food consumption and total and certain cause specific mortality (cancer, ischemic heart diseases, and respiratory diseases).” However, you cannot go to the nearest BW3’s, order hot wings, and skip a few workouts. More studies are needed to generalize these findings and break them into simple causation.