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Adding spice to your food has often been thought to help boost metabolism and keep you fuller longer. Adding spicy seasonings like red pepper flakes or a dash of Tabasco may help you feel more satisfied even from a smaller portion of food. Research on this has been lacking but a new study may help to prove otherwise. A new study published in the British Medical Journal, showed that eating spicy foods may lower your risk of death from conditions like cancer, ischemic heart disease and respiratory disease. Spicy food or its active components have been related to improved inflammation, reduced body fat, or improved lipid profiles. However, we know little about why these may occur.

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A new study suggests that regularly eating spicy food could also lower the risk of death from specific conditions. Through an observational study, published in BMJ, researchers concluded that daily diets which featured spicy foods on a regular basis lowered the risk of death from cancer, ischemic heart disease and respiratory disease. 

Previous studies have also showed this benefit among others for spicy foods such as red peppers. These foods contain bioactive agents in spices that have beneficial effects on the body, especially with regards to obesity and cardiovascular disease. 

These studies suggest spices may play a more prominent role in our overall health. But there still remains a big gap in evidence for the effects of daily spicy food consumption and disease-specific risk factors. 

For the purpose of addressing this exact lack, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences which analyzed data obtained from the China Kadioorie Biobank. A prospective cohort study of more than half a million adults from geographically diverse regions in China. 

They followed a total of 487,375 participants aged between 30 and 79 who were regularly assessed for illness. When each participant was enrolled to the study between 2004-2008, they completed a questionnaire about their health and consumption of spicy foods, red meat, vegetables and alcohol.

During the follow-up period, 5% of surviving participants were randomly surveyed again in 2008 to assess whether the baseline questionnaire results accurately reflected spicy food consumption over time. The study authors report these questionnaires indicated that spicy food consumption was reported consistently.

A total of 20,224 deaths were recorded during the follow-up period, with participants tracked for an average of 7.2 years.