It’s an old saying in the scientific community: 22,811 Italians can’t be wrong. This week, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology published a study that notes a correlation between regular consumption of hot chili peppers and greater longevity.
The study tracked 22,811 Italian adults because, as the abstract notes, “Epidemiological data on the association between chili pepper intake and mortality risk are scarce, with a lack of studies from Mediterranean populations.” Having studied the population over the course of several years, Inverse explains, researchers found that people who ate chili peppers at least four times per week had a 23% lower risk of death overall, and a 34% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
This isn’t the first study linking chili peppers to positive health outcomes. Capsaicin, a compound that influences the heat of a chili pepper (more capsaicin = more spice), seems to be the ingredient behind all these benefits, though the science of how capsaicin improves our health is not fully understood.