Scientists in France say they have found a link between eating spicy food and high levels of testosterone in men. Testosterone is a hormone and steroid that is found in male and female bodies that is responsible for sexual development. Men generally produce it at a 20 times greater rate than women. It is usually a sign of male bravado and masculinity. Men with higher levels of testosterone are commonly seen as being more sexually active, arrogant, brave and bigger risk takers. Report co-author Laurent Begue said the findings of his study were "in line with a lot of research showing a link between testosterone and financial, sexual and behavioural risk-taking".
Professor Begue's study looked at the degree to which 114 men aged between 18 and 44 liked spicy food. The men were asked to add a hot pepper sauce to a dish of mashed potatoes. They then had to evaluate the spiciness of what they ate. The researchers tested the saliva of the men and found that those who put more pepper sauce on their potatoes were the ones with higher levels of testosterone. Britain's health service website nhs.uk said the study was too small to prove a definite link between spice and testosterone. It said many other things could influence a preference for spicy food. These include genetic, cultural and psychological factors.