Eating spicy food is often seen as a sign of male bravado - and now scientific research has found that men who enjoy hot food have higher levels of testosterone.
Scientist at the University of Grenoble found a positive correlation between an enjoyment of spicy food and levels of the hormone.
Greater quantities of testosterone are linked to characteristics that define the typical “alpha” male, such as aggression, recklessness and a high sex drive.
Co-author Laurent Begue told the Telegraph: “These results are in line with a lot of research showing a link between testosterone and financial, sexual and behavioural risk-taking.”
“In this case, it applies to risk-taking in taste.”
In the study 114 men aged between 18 and 44 were asked to indicate their preference for spicy food. They were then asked to season a sample of mashed potatoes with hot pepper sauce and salt before evaluating the spiciness of the meal.
When saliva samples were taken, it was found that the men who voluntarily and spontaneously consumed higher levels of hot pepper sauce had higher levels of testosterone. However, there was no link between the hormone and the amount of salt consumed.
Professor Begue added that studies on rats had also shown that regularly consuming spicy food contributed to higher testosterone levels - but this has not yet been proven to apply to humans.
The study, entitled “Some Like it Hot” will be published in the Physiology and Behaviour journal early next year.