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Scientists have discovered that red hot chili peppers (the food, not the LA funk rock band) could be the secret to a longer life.

In the first study of its kind, US researchers surveyed more than 16,000 adults on their diets and health, and then checked up on them periodically for the next six years.

They found that those who regularly consumed chilies could extend their life by an average of 10.5 years.

The study states:

Our analyses showed a significant decrease in mortality associated with hot red chili pepper consumption.

The mortality rate for those who ate chili peppers – ground red chili peppers not included – during the six years was 21.6 per cent. And these people weren't munching through chilies like they were chips - they just could have eaten just a bite in one more (or more).

Their mortality rate was much higher than the 33.6 per cent for those who didn’t eat any chilies. Definitely worth the risk of a few tears and hot flashes.

The chili pepper-eating group were more likely to be younger and male, and were more likely to smoke and drink. They also had lower HDL-cholesterol. The researchers found, after controlling for any biases, these people had a 13 per cent lower risk of death.

The magic ingredient? Capsaicin; which gives the chili a kick. (And helps us avoid kicking the bucket, apparently.)

The study states capsaicin can help protect against heart disease and may be in part responsible for the chili's health benefits.

And now - because you probably have at least one of their songs stuck in your head - The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

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