Individuals who enjoy spicier foods appear to eat less salt and have lower blood pressure. A study that involved 606 adults found that those who had a preference for spicier foods had an 8mm Hg lower systolic and 5mm Hg lower diastolic blood pressure and they consumed less sodium than individuals who largely avoided such fare. Additionally, brain scans showed that the areas stimulated by salt and spice overlap, and that spice consumption further increases brain activity in these areas. The researchers speculate that this may cause these individuals to be more sensitive to salt so that they can enjoy their food without having to consume very much of it.
Hypertension, October 2017