Eating hot curries could help you live longer, improve memory and prevent bowel cancer.
In tests on mice, scientists at the University of California found that capsaicin – the compound that gives chilli peppers their heat – stops a pain-sensing protein called TRPV1 from working.
Mice fed capsaicin were less likely to develop the cancer and their lifespans were extended by 30%.
The same effects from eating capsaicin should apply to humans .
A study published earlier this year in the journal Cell found mice which could block TRPV1 had memories that faded less with the years.
They also seemed to be able to burn off calories more easily, which cuts the risk of diabetes. Previous research found capsaicin lowered blood pressure in mice.
University of California researcher Andrew Dillin said: "Chronic ingestion of compounds that affect TRPV1 such as capsaicin might help prevent metabolic decline with age and lead to increased longevity in humans.”
But eating too many hot curries may make you fat – which increases the risk of bowel cancer.
It is the third most common cancer in England. More than 41,000 people are diagnosed with it every year.