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New York University

How spicy food could help you and your kids live longer

How spicy food could help you and your kids live longer

After I gave birth to my first child in January 1984, one of the nurses in the progressive Cambridge, Mass., hospital where I had my exhausting, anesthesia-free delivery came to give me the standard breast-feeding lesson. Lots of fluids but no alcohol. Try for serenity, rocking chair, music, she said — and no spicy foods. We don’t want to upset Baby’s stomach! Decades later, my reaction is still a family legend. I sat bolt upright in bed and demanded: “What about the mothers in Mexico? The mothers in India? For crying out loud, what about the mothers in Szechuan province?” I had just endured the indigestion of pregnancy and the abdominal overcrowding of the...

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