Intended for healthcare professionals

CCBY Open access

Rapid response to:


Consumption of spicy foods and total and cause specific mortality: population based cohort study

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 04 August 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h3942

Rapid Response:

Consumption of spicy foods in moderation is beneficial.

We read an interesting research article [BMJ 2015;351:h3855] .

The relationship between eating spicy food and a lower death rate was in people who didn’t drink alcohol. Researchers mentioned the limitations of their study, and truly said that prospective studies in other populations are required to demonstrate these findings in general [1].

Facts about spicy food:

Chili Peppers- capsaicin in hot peppers helpful in relieving all kinds of pain including migraines and other headaches (but also trigger in some migraine sufferers), and ginger a remedy for nausea and vomiting, common symptoms of migraine [2].

Spices in small or average amounts play a role in lowering blood glucose by increasing insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes. Spices may also improve blood circulation, decrease platelet aggregation, lower blood pressure, and act as blood vessel protectants, a beneficial role in patients with cardiovascular disease associated with type 2 diabetes [3].

Spices taste good because they are good for us: spices exhibit antibacterial and antifungal activity, use should be greatest in hot climates (unrefrigerated foods spoil quickly), a greater proportion of bacteria should be inhibited by recipes from hot climates than from cool climates. Spices are defensive compounds from plants and these phytochemicals have antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties [4].

Herbs and spices are beneficial in cancer prevention[5].

Preference for spicy food among men is related to endogenous testosterone levels [6].

Eating spicy, hot food causes the same physical reactions as does physical heat like burning and sweating [7].

People love the pain of spicy food, eating hot chili peppers reduces danger without risk, activating areas of the brain related to both pleasure and pain [8].

Some people have a preference for spicy foods: people with the thrill-seeking personality, cultural influences play role, and it’s in their genes [9].

Spicy food lovers are more loyal customers [10].

1. BMJ 2015;351:h3855

Competing interests: No competing interests

07 August 2015
Dr. Rajiv Kumar
Professor, Deptt. of Pharmacology,
Dr.Jagjit Singh, Assistant Professor & co author.
Government Medical College & Hospital, Chandigarh 160030. INDIA