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Regular Consumption Of Spicy Foods Linked To Lower Risk Of Death
Eating spicy food more frequently as part of a daily diet is associated with a lower risk of death, suggests a new study published in The BMJ this week.
The association was also found for deaths from certain conditions such as cancer, and ischaemic heart and respiratory diseases.
This is an observational study so no definitive conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, but the authors call for more research that may “lead to updated dietary recommendations and development of functional foods.”
Previous research has suggested that beneficial effects of spices and their bioactive ingredient, capsaicin, include antiobesity, antioxidant, anti-inflammation and anticancer properties.
So an international team led by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences examined the association between consumption of spicy foods as part of a daily diet and the total risk and causes of death.
They undertook a prospective study of 487,375 participants, aged 30-79 years, from the China Kadoorie Biobank.
Participants were enrolled between 2004-2008 and followed up for morbidities and mortality.
All participants completed a questionnaire about their general health, physical measurements, and consumption of spicy foods, and red meat, vegetable and alcohol.
Participants with a history of cancer, heart disease, and stroke were excluded from the study, and factors such as age, marital status, level of education, and physical activity were accounted for.
During a median follow-up of 7.2 years, there were 20,224 deaths. Compared with participants who ate spicy foods less than once a week, those who consumed spicy foods 1 or 2 days a week were at a 10% reduced risk of death (hazard ratios for death was 0.90). And those who ate spicy foods 3 to 5 and 6 or 7 days a week were at a 14% reduced risk of death (hazard ratios for death 0.86, and 0.86 respectively).
In other words, participants who ate spicy foods almost every day had a relative 14% lower risk of death compared to those who consumed spicy foods less than once a week. The association was similar in both men and women, and was stronger in those who did not consume alcohol.
Frequent consumption of spicy foods was also linked to a lower risk of death from cancer, and ischaemic heart and respiratory system diseases, and this was more evident in women than men.
Fresh and dried chilli peppers were the most commonly used spices in those who reported eating spicy foods weekly, and further analysis showed those who consumed fresh chilli tended to have a lower risk of death from cancer, ischaemic heart disease, and diabetes.
Some of the bioactive ingredients are likely to drive this association, the authors explain, adding that fresh chilli is richer in capsaicin, vitamin C, and other nutrients. But they caution against linking any of these with lowering the risk of death.
Should people eat spicy food to improve health? In an accompanying editorial, Nita Forouhi from the University of Cambridge says it is too early to tell, and calls for more research to test whether these associations are the direct result of spicy food intake or whether this is a marker for other dietary or lifestyle factors.
Co-Operative Back In Growth Ahead Of Overall Grocery Market
The latest grocery share figures from Kantar Worldpanel for the 12 weeks ending 19 July 2015, show a slow growth in the British grocery market.
Overall sales have increased by 0.8% compared with a year ago, with stronger growth being enjoyed by the smaller retailers.
Fraser McKevitt, head of consumer and retail insight at Kantar Worldpanel, explains: “The Co-operative has returned to growth for the first time since July 2014, increasing its sales by 1.0%. The Manchester-based grocer’s focus on its convenience offer has been rewarded with an increase in shopper numbers, which have risen by 133,000. While The Co-operative’s growth is slightly ahead of the market, its overall share of 6.3% has remained the same as last year.”
Despite a fall in sales of 0.3%, Sainsbury’s has edged its market share of 16.5% ahead of Asda, which now stands at 16.4%. Sainsbury’s has returned to its position as the nation’s second largest supermarket for the first time since January, boosted by non-food sales, its Sainsbury’s Local outlets and faster market growth in the south of the country, where it operates a larger number of stores.
Growth has accelerated at Waitrose, where sales have risen by 3.0%. Customers have taken advantage of the recently introduced ‘Pick Your Own Offers’ initiative to push market share up to 5.0%, an increase of 0.1 percentage points compared with last year.
Fraser McKevitt continues: “The continued slow growth of the overall market can be explained by minimal volume growth and lower like-for-like prices, both as a result of cheaper commodity prices and the fierce competition between supermarkets. Comparable groceries are now 1.6% cheaper than a year ago, meaning prices have been falling since September 2014, although they are projected to start rising again by early 2016.”
Aldi grew by 16.6% while Lidl saw growth of 11.3%, meaning both have moved to new market share highs of 5.6% and 4.0% respectively. Morrisons was the best performer among the ‘big four’ retailers, although sales fell back by 0.1%. Meanwhile, sales at Tesco fell by 0.6% and at Asda by 2.7%. At Iceland sales were up by 3.0%, coinciding with its recent ‘Power of Frozen’ advertising campaign.
Red Tape Adds £6.4 Billion Onto The Cost Of Distribution In The UK
Red tape now costs distributive trades around £6.4 billion or 32% of the total cost for the UK’s micro, small and medium sized employers.
This means that compliance with legislation now costs firms in this industry £15,900 each or around £1,845 per employee – according to research from the Forum of Private Business.
Internal compliance costs have risen to £4.1 billion, eclipsing the modest savings on external consultants which has dropped to £2.3 billion, however companies in this industry account for 35% of consultant costs despite being 32% of overall employment
Time has now become the most pressing issue for the industry and it is not difficult to see why as the time spent internally meeting regulatory compliance rose to 40 hours per month, up 11% on 2013. Time taken to complete payroll requirements has risen 1.2 hours across the industry with small and medium companies (those with over 10 staff) seeing the biggest rises in time spent on payroll.
“This industry is very price sensitive – particularly in the current economic climate – and red tape can make good companies uncompetitive as a result” said the Forum’s Managing Director, Ian Cass.
“The Forum has raised our game and increased cover for our members in this industry removing the pernicious 51% prospect of success clause on our standard cover and including support for companies that have to act before they have time to take insured advice.”
Retailers, hoteliers and other business owners in the industry work long hours and need support that is designed around them so we have introduced video training modules, case studies alongside our employment and health and safety guides to support them when they need help.
The Forum has found that small firms across the UK pay external contractors a total of £6.5 billion for regulatory compliance services, while internal time costs are £13.5 billion in total.
“There is also evidence that the government are failing to consider the implications of regulations on the regions smallest and most numerous employers as micro businesses are paying almost ten times more per employee than medium sized firms,” continued Mr Cass
“Paying commissions on holiday pay has been a bolt out of the blue and businesses with less than 5 people say that they simply cannot get shared parental leave to work without it harming their ability to grow”
The Forum has also bolstered its support for members in light of concerns about tax investigation, cyber crime and the complexity of legal compliance. Overall Forum members pay around half as much for employment law and health and safety specialists as other firms, but spend a similar amount of time on health and safety compliance and 15% less on employment law.