Scientists have discovered the key to the ability of spicy foods to kill cancer cells.
They found capsaicin, an ingredient of jalapeno peppers, triggers cancer cell death by attacking mitochondria - the cells' energy-generating boiler rooms.
The research raises the possibility that other cancer drugs could be developed to target mitochondria.
The Nottingham University study features in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.
The study showed that the family of molecules to which capsaicin belongs, the vanilloids, bind to proteins in the cancer cell mitochondria to trigger apoptosis, or cell death, without harming surrounding healthy cells.