By Carl Hanson
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People who regularly eat spicy foods tend to live longer than folks who eat spicy stuff less than once a week. According to a study published in the BMJ, these regular eaters of spicy foods were less likely to die from heart disease, cancer, and respiratory disease than the merely occasional consumers.

What spicy foods did the study participants eat? Fresh chile peppers and dried chiles mostly.

Does this prove that chile peppers are the reason these folks lived longer? No. And the study's authors were quick to say more research is needed to confirm any longevity link. Still, earlier research has found that chemicals in chile peppers have antioxidant, anti-inflammation, anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, and even anti-obesity properties. Chiles are also high in vitamins A and C.

So as we await more good news from future studies, let's hop right into some healthy hot stuff.

"WOWZA this is good," says LilSnoo. "I was a little skeptical of putting one whole habanero in, but it's not too spicy at all. We drizzled this over some asparagus and it was delicious! Tonight I put it in our beef stirfry. YUM! This would be fantastic in pork or chicken lettuce wraps. Oh, the possibilities!"

Photo by LilSnoo

"These enchiladas are made with a fresh green salsa," says PattiVerde. "Just like you would find in a Mexican restaurant or better yet, in a Mexican home."

Photo by Allrecipes

"This chili is amazing," raves CALTROCKSTAR. "I have won two chili cook-offs and given this recipes to numerous admirers! Never tasted a better chili in my life! Sometimes I cut the hot peppers slightly, but not much."

Photo by Baasinator

"A great sauce with a spicy kick," says schmerna. "I loved it on penne pasta and the next day as a pizza sauce."

Photo by Allrecipes

"Four types of beans are combined with red pepper flakes, lots of cumin, chili powder, and salsa in this fiery turkey chili," says Heather.

Photo by lutzflcat

"Very tasty," says TIM LILES. "Very simple to prepare. The whole family loved the authentic flavor. Will use more meat next time, just the way I like it."

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"WARNING: Only for the brave and daring of tongue," says TOCOYOTE. "This fast EASY one-skillet recipe yields the most delicious spicy Mandarin/Szechuan flavor you ever tasted."

Photo by Rock_lobster

"This is similar to classic tuna fish salad but with a kick," says Catherine. "My boyfriend made this when we were out of relish and decided to substitute jalapenos. It was awesome! I added the relish back in to give it a sweetness along with the spiciness."

Photo by lutzflcat

"The red curry paste is spicy," says Chef John. "But by controlling the amount of paste you add, you can tailor this to your own threshold of pain."

Photo by Catherine Kim

"This rich, spicy recipe for slow cooking pork makes excellent tacos, enchiladas, etc.," says andympls. "We crave this pork, and you will too."

Photo by Allrecipes

A vegan potato curry featuring potatoes, onions, and garlic, along with traditional curry spices, minced fresh ginger, tomatoes, garbanzo beans, and peas. Stir in coconut milk, heat through, and you're done!

"These were so good," says SueC. "Very moist and full of flavor! Just the right amount of spiciness to make them real tasty. If you love heat, you can easily add more spice to make them zippy!"

Photo by abapplez

"The underlying heat made this a very satisfying alternative to regular coleslaw," says CraZyCHef. "The peaches and cabbage were a good enough contrast to the heat from the chile pepper sauce to make the coleslaw tasty and not overwhelming."

Photo by lutzflcat

"An unusual combination of simple ingredients that render a spicy, tasty soup that's ready in less than 45 minutes," says Colleen Campo.

Photo by mommymeggy

"I love this, make it all the time," says Carrie. "I add ground beef to it."

Photo by Nicolette

"This soup can be served as is or run through the blender for a creamy version," says TOOBUSY2. "You can adjust the spice to cool it down."

Photo by Scotdog

"This is a great recipe that you can fix to your taste," says AUNTTAF. "The longer it simmers the better. Top with crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheese."

Photo by Jessica

"Loved the flavor," says snewman. "Dicing the cucumbers would make it easier to spread."

Photo by lutzflcat

Never be without! Sriracha is actually a simple combination of vinegar, red chile peppers, garlic, salt, and a little light brown sugar. You'll let it ferment briefly before processing it in a blender and reducing the sauce. See how it's done!


Check out our collections of Chile Pepper Recipes -- and don't miss some of our Spiciest Appetizers.