SPICES have always been an important part of cooking to add flavour, colouring and to even preserve food.

Eating spicy food can reduce your risk of early death by 25%, a study done by US scientists claims.

Spicy foods are known to help with speeding up your metabolism, which also contributes to weigh loss as it suppresses the fat tissue growth. The scientists found that regular consumers are 26% and 23% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease or cancer, respectively.

In 2015, a study by Harvard and China National Centre for Disease Control and Prevention stated that eating spicy food six or seven days a week, or even just once a day, lowered mortality rates by 14%.

The ingestion of red pepper was found to decrease appetite and energy intake in people of Asian origin and white people, and might reduce the risk of overweight and obesity. In addition, the bioactive agents in spices have also shown beneficial roles in obesity, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal conditions, various cancers, neurogenic bladder, and dermatological conditions.

Victoria Taylor, nutrition lead at the British Heart Foundation, welcomed the findings from the Ohio research team, stating that many of us are cooking more than usual at the moment and experimenting with herbs and spices can be a great way to liven up your home-cooked meals, and add variety in a healthy and nutritious way.

Victoria warned that people should watch out for ready-made chilli sauces as well as spice mixes and rubs though, as these are often high in salt.