Topical Area: Nutritional Epidemiology, Aging and Chronic Disease
Objectives : Previous studies have reported the beneficial effects of spice consumption on lipid profiles, fasting glucose, and blood pressure, which suggests that spice consumption could affect the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and consequently mortality. The objective of this study was to evaluate the relationship between consumption of turmeric, black or chili pepper, cinnamon, and saffron with overall and cause-specific mortality in an adult population.
Methods : We used data from the Golestan Cohort Study, which has followed 50,045 participants aged 40-75 years from baseline (2004-2008). After establishing the exclusion criteria, 44,398 participants were included in the analyses. Spice consumption data was extracted from the baseline food frequency questionnaire. Cox models were used to estimate hazards ratio (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for overall and cause-specific mortality, comparing the ever consumers to the never consumers as a reference group for each type of spice (adjusted for known and suspected confounders).
Results : During 11 years of follow-up, 5,121 people died. Turmeric consumption was associated with significantly reduced risk of overall mortality (HR=0.90, 95% CI=0.85-0.96) and cardiovascular mortality (HR=0.91, 95% CI=0.82-0.99). Black or chili pepper consumption was associated with significantly reduced risk of overall mortality (HR=0.92, 95% CI=0.87-0.98). Saffron consumption was associated with significantly reduced risk of overall (HR=0.83, 95% CI=0.76-0.90) and cardiovascular mortality (HR=0.81, 95% CI=0.70-0.94). We found no associations with cinnamon consumption or between any of these spices and cancer-mortality.
Consuming turmeric and saffron was associated with decreased risk of overall and cardiovascular mortality. The hypothesis of a protective effect of spice consumption on mortality should be tested in other prospective studies. Our results provide support for the hypothesis that spice consumption has positive public health implications and may serve as a reference for dietary guidelines.
Funding Sources :
The Intramural Research Program of the US National Cancer Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.