When Hillary Clinton was asked what she carries in her purse during a radio interview on the campaign trail in April, she had a spicy answer.
“Hot sauce,” Clinton said.
The interviewing host on the Breakfast Club radio show poked fun at Clinton -- telling her people might consider her answer pandering to young and African-American voters by referencing a popular Beyoncé lyric, but in reality, Clinton’s well-documented hot sauce fanaticism started long before her presidential bid.
“I eat a lot of hot peppers,” she told 60 Minutes in 2008. “I, for some reason, started doing that in 1992 and I swear by it.”
While living at the White House in the 1990s, Clinton had a collection of more than 100 hot sauces and on the 2008 campaign trail she was known for popping jalapeños ― raw.
“There was not a day or a minute that went by that we didn’t have a full plate of raw jalapeños,” Jamie Smith, a 2008 campaign aide, told The Associated Press.
“She ate them like potato chips.”
As it turns out, Clinton’s love of hot sauce has some science to back it up.
According to a study of 500,000 men and women in China, published in the British Medical Journal last year, those who regularly ate spicy foods had a 14 percent reduced risk of death, compared to those who ate spicy items less frequently.
While a single study doesn’t prove that chilis are causal factor in a longer life, there could be a benefit in upping the spice in your life. And the best way to get your fix of capsaicin ― the active ingredient in hot peppers ― might be by eating your favorite spicy comfort foods like guacamole.
“Capsaicin is a fat-soluble molecule,” David Popovich, senior lecturer in human nutrition at Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology in New Zealand told Time. “It’s best, believe it or not, to eat it with a little fat.”
There you have it. Hillary Clinton, hot pepper eating health hero since ‘92. And while we might not be popping raw jalapeños like potato chips come November 8, jalapeños poppers are at the top of our election night menu.