Photo credit: Paul Stein / Flickr

Spicy food makes you live longer, this, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal.

The study has been based the data on half a million Chinese and their respective diets. The data was collected from a survey of about 500,000 adults, aged between 35 and 79 from 10 geographically diverse areas across China. The research ran between 2004 to 2008 and during a median follow-up of 7.2 years, there were 20,224 deaths.

The researchers assessed among other things, health status, drinking habits and the consumption of specific food items, such as chili. Factors such as age, marital status, education, physical activity, family history and general diet, were compensated.

The data show an inverse correlation between mortality, including cancer and cardiovascular disease, and the consumption of spicy foods, in particular, chili. Those who ate spicy food once or twice a week had a 10 percent lower risk of dying prematurely than those who were less likely to eat spicy food.

And the more, the better, the group that ate spicy three to seven times a week had a 14 percent lower risk of dying prematurely. The protective effect was strongest among those who ate fresh chili.

Consumption of hot spicy foods and mortality—is chilli good for your health?