A recent study demonstrated a clear link between spicy foods and longevity in Chinese people who regularly ingest spicy foods. But of course, as with all scientific studies, correlation does not equal causation.

Do spicy foods directly help you to live a longer, healthier life? Or are healthier people more attracted to spicy foods for some reason? One popular theory is that adding spices to your food makes vegetables more palatable, and we all know how important vegetables are! If more flavor means you’re willing to eat more vegetables, then spices really could be a key to improved health and longevity.

In the meantime, you might be wondering what the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health has to say about the spices most commonly associated with health and longevity.

Turmeric. Turmeric contains anti-inflammatory properties, and has been rumored to aid digestion and improve liver function.

Cinnamon. While science has yet to prove anything, cinnamon is believed by many people to help maintain blood sugar and cure some types of infection.

Garlic. Some evidence suggests that garlic can lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure. As a folk remedy, garlic has been used for centuries to fight against infection.

Of course, it’s never a good idea to diagnose yourself on the internet. And it’s an even worse idea to attempt treat known diseases yourself rather than visiting your health care practitioner! But if you’re already seeing a doctor for a health condition and you’re curious about using spices to improve your health, grabbing some Indian or Chinese takeout on a regular basis certainly can’t hurt. At best, you might notice some health benefits of spices, and at worst you will just enjoy some delicious meals.