If you know a guy who loves spicy food then chances are his testosterone levels are through the roof. Or so this study suggests.
Testosterone levels affect everything in men from the reproductive system and sexuality to muscle mass and bone density.
Laurent Begue, co-author of the study titled 'Some Like It Hot', said: "These results are in line with a lot of research showing a link between testosterone and financial, sexual and behavioural risk-taking."
Researchers studied 114 men aged from 18 to 44, who live in Grenoble, south-eastern France.
The subjects' testosterone levels were measured using saliva samples. They were offered a plate of mashed potatoes each and were then invited to add chili sauce to taste.
Findings suggested that those who added the most chili sauce had the highest levels of testosterone.
Professor Begue says that the hormone can drive men to seek thrills and take risks.
"In this case, it applies to risk-taking in taste," he said. "It is also possible that the regular consumption of spicy food contributes to increasing testosterone levels, although so far this has only been demonstrated on rodents."
And it's not the first time that this association between spicy food and risk-taking has arisen. A study presented at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists also found a correlation between the two.
Nadia Byrnes from Penn State University’s department of food science, said that: “As the perceived burning or stinging of a spicy meal increases, an individual who isn't ‘sensation seeking’ will find that their liking will drop much more quickly than someone who is high ‘sensation seeking."
Story continues below...
Dr. Alan Hirsch, of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, told ABC News that the correlation between risk-taking and spicy food makes perfect sense to him.
“There’s a long-standing hypothesis that risk-takers are adrenaline deficient and that they take risks to get that adrenaline and feel better,” he said.
“So they’ll work in high risk environments and then they’ll feel normal. Similarly, when you eat hot spicy food, it gives you a little bit of pain and therefore enhances your adrenaline level.”