- A spicy meal like curry can boost your lifespan, according to scientists
- Switching off body’s ability to feel pain could be key to increasing lifespan
- Advice follows experiments in mice by preventing pain signals reaching brain
A curry or stir fry for dinner won’t just spice up your evening – it could might also help you live longer.
Scientists say that blocking the body’s ability to feel pain boosts lifespan – and that one way of switching off pain is by regularly eating chilli peppers.
The culinary advice follows experiments in mice, in which stopping pain signals from reaching the brain extended their lifespan.
Live long: One way of switching off pain is by regularly eating chilli peppers and hot curry, experts have claimed
Animals that could not make pain-sensing protein called TRPV1 were ‘exceptionally long lived’. Not only was life 14 per cent longer, but it was also healthier.
They developed cancer less often and their memory faded less with age.
They seemed to be able to burn off calories without exercising more than usual and their metabolism, including their ability to process sugar remained youthful late in life.
This could cut the risk of diabetes, the journal Cell reports.
University of California researcher Andrew Dillin said: ‘We think that blocking this pain receptor and pathway could be very, very useful not only for relieving pain, but for improving lifespan and metabolic health and in particular for treating diabetes and obesity in humans.
‘As humans age, they report a higher incidence of pain, suggesting that pain might drive the ageing process.’
The animals in his experiment had been genetically-engineered to not make the TRPV1 pain sensor.
But Professor Dillin said that regularly eating capsaicin, the compound that gives chilli peppers their zing, should stop the sensor from working.
He 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.
The culinary advice follows experiments in mice, in which stopping pain signals from reaching the brain extended their lifespan
Alternatively, many drugs that are already in use, including a migraine pill, affect the way the pain sensor works.
Some say the science is moving so quickly that it will soon be possible to prevent many of the ills of old age.
By taking a pill a day from middle-age, we will grow old free from illnesses of the body and mind such as Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
Spared many of the aches and pains of old age, people could work for longer – or simply make the most of their retirement.
Some research even suggests that skin and hair will retain its youthful lustre