We’ve spent our entire lives trying to strike a balance between food and health. When we overeat, our brain punishes us by guilt-tripping us to the point where we try to stop ourselves from doing it again. Another fight that makes us outlaws when we cross the line onto the dark side is the one between salt and sweet. When it comes to spicy food, the dilemma is the same. Are they good for you or just for an upset stomach?
Well, I have got the answers with me, whether spicy food is good or bad for our health:
- Spicy food (Chilli) gives your tongue a tingly and unpleasant sensation when you eat, which is caused by a chemical called capsaicin. According to studies, capsaicin is good for heart health, blood pressure, stroke and cholesterol.
- Metabolism is the process by which the food and beverages you ingest are converted into energy. Your metabolism determines how much energy you have and how many calories you burn. Spicy food helps with weight loss by maintaining a healthy weight. According to a study, capsaicin aids in fat burning and increases satiety (fullness), causing people to consume fewer calories throughout the day.
- The microbiome in your gut is made up of trillions of different bacteria and microorganisms. Capsaicin has been found in numerous studies to reduce “bad” bacteria in the gut while promoting the growth of all “good” bacteria.’
- Capsaicin is an excellent pain reliever. It has also been found in studies to aid persons with osteoarthritis, diabetes nerve pain, and post-herpetic neuralgia (nerve pain after a shingles infection). They reduce pain by desensitising nerves in the skin and reducing substance P, a pain molecule in the body, according to studies.
- Research involving nearly half a million Chinese people revealed that people who ate spicy foods had a 14% lower chance of death (longevity boost). When compared to persons who ate milder, eating spicy dishes just two days a week reduced the risk by 10%.
- Capsaicin causes the release of endorphins, which are the “feel good” hormones in our body.
- It might be difficult for the body to disperse heat in hot conditions. Spicy meals can cause perspiration (sweating), which can lead to evaporative cooling, which can help keep your body temperature in check.
- The taste of spicy food might be overpowering, limiting your capacity to detect other flavours in the food. The transient receptor potential (TRP) family of molecules transmits feelings to your brain and is required to alert you when you have been injured. Capsaicin attaches to one of the TRPV1 receptors, making your brain believe you’ve touched something on fire.
- Curcumin, a turmeric component, may help to decrease inflammation. For millennia, ayurvedic remedies have used the anti-inflammatory qualities of ginger and garlic to treat a variety of ailments, including arthritis, autoimmune disorders, migraines, and nausea.
- Chilli peppers’ key ingredient, capsaicin, has been demonstrated to delay and kill cancer cells. Capsaicin suppressed the growth of prostate cancer cells in mice while leaving healthy cells intact, according to a UCLA study.
- Chiles and other spices alter your hunger to help you control your appetite. Capsaicin affects the hypothalamus, the area of the brain that regulates hunger and fullness, according to a study. If you add extra heat to your meal, you may feel full sooner. People who consume a spicy-rich diet consume less food overall throughout the day.
- Spicy foods don’t promote ulcers; in fact, they may help them heal.
Some persons with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (conditions that cause inflammation in the digestive tract), may discover that spicy foods induce a flare-up.
Some people may experience adverse effects from eating spicy meals, such as:
- Reflux of acid (heartburn)
- Stomach ache
- Keep spicy foods away from your eyes.
- Capsaicin has a high irritating potential. It can harm the stomach lining, resulting in gastritis, stomach ulcers, and potentially intestinal disease like colitis.
Note: Capsaicin content determines how hot and helpful a pepper (or spice) gets.