There are more restaurants adding spicy foods to their menu to hook foodies. It is because spicy foods never fail in attracting foodies to take the challenge. Some people might think spicy food avails you nothing. It merely gives you pleasure and, eventually, stomachache. Is spicy food that bad? Well, let’s find out!
Spicy food is extremely unique. It always gives you burning sensation that triggers off tears and makes you overwhelmed by sweat. However, you still crave for it as if you were addicted to a new harmless drug packed in various kinds of spices and chilies called drug. Isn’t it weird?
Where does the heat come from?
Many people wonder why a tiny chili pepper can be so hot. It is because of capsaicin, the active ingredient found in the ribs and pith of a chili pepper. Capsaicin is very unique. When you eat spicy food, capsaicin will have the receptors in your mouth transmit signals to your brain which indicate the heat of capsaicin. As the result, your body response the burning sensation that comes from the spicy food.
The heat of spicy food tastes delicious and challenging at the same time. But you have to remember that eating spicy food is not about taking the challenge to prove how good you are at enduring the heat of spicy food. Excess chili peppers might be fun in the beginning, but it can be harmful eventually.
- Upset stomach
Some of you might feel there is something wrong with your stomach after eating spicy food. It feels like you are suddenly stuffed uncomfortably. Or you feel like your stomach is full of gas and you want to burp, but the burp just does not come out. If you experience those things, you are likely to suffer from upset stomach.
Upset stomach can occur due to some factors. One of them is capsaicin. When you eat spicy food, along with the capsaicin, it is likely to have a contact with the lining of your stomach and trigger off the upset stomach.
Spice food contains acids. Overindulging in spicy foods increase your acid intake which will be introduced into the stomach. As we know that your stomach contains acid. When there are abundant acids in your stomach, the walls of the stomach will be damaged.
Many people think spicy foods can lead to some more serious stomach issues such as gastric ulcer. Some research has discovered that spicy foods do not gastric cause ulcer. The culprit is a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. But if you are suffering from gastric ulcer, you are not allowed to eat spicy foods as they merely worsen the ulcer.
Heartburn is the uncomfortable feeling inside your chest. This uncomfortably warm feeling occurs after eating spicy foods. Therefore, many people think that overindulging in spicy foods may lead to heartburn issue.
Heartburn does not have anything to do with the heart. Heartburn is caused by the stomach acid which moves upward to the esophagus. Some foods can cause heartburn including spicy foods as they can increase the production of stomach acid.
- loose stools
It is not a surprise to see some people have the run after eating spicy foods. Perhaps, your tongue and facial expression can put up with the burning sensation, but your stomach can’t. Your stomach will give its response to the spicy foods you have just eaten. It, sometimes, leads to painful loose stools.
Diarrhoea happens because the heat produced by capsaicin can irritate the lining of the stomach. Besides, capsaicin is not soluble in water. Therefore, you might experience burning sensation in your anus after pooping.
Remedies to counteract the burning effect of spicy foods
Some of you might have experienced one of those things after enjoying spicy foods. That atrocious experience has made you think that you have had enough of spicy foods and do not want to give them a try anymore. If you worry about the atrocious effects that occur after eating spicy foods, you can try these tips on soothing your mouth and stomach after enjoying spicy foods.
- Ginger root and peppermint tea relieve upset stomach
Some research shows that ginger root and peppermint tea are an effective remedies for upset stomach. Ginger root is a hot fragrant spice containing anti-inflammatory that helps you relieve from the upset stomach by increasing the digestive juices and neutralizing the pain.
Ginger root also contains shogaols and gingerols, anti-oxidant that soothe your intestinal tract which leads to relieving the pain instantly. It also helps you eradicate any extra gas in your stomach that makes you feel uncomfortable. Therefore, ginger root is widely used to soothe upset stomach, heartburn, and nausea.
Peppermint tea is also a great upset stomach reliever. You may find peppermint candies in some restaurants that have super spicy foods on their menu. Peppermint tea soothes your upset stomach by relaxing the muscles in the digestive tract, loosening cramp, and calming nausea and bloating. The excess gas will go upward and downward through the tract to alleviate upset stomach and indigestion.
Unfortunately, peppermint is not the best remedy for another drawback caused by spicy foods, namely heartburn. Furthermore, peppermint will worsen the heartburn instead of easing it up.
Are you keen on adding more chili sauce to your noodles, but you do not know how to get rid of the burning sensation within your mouth and tongue?
Try sipping a glass of milk. Dairy products such as milk will ease the burning sensation up as it contains casein. Some research such as American Chemical Society found that casein in dairy products can help you soothe the burning sensation caused by capsaicin by breaking the bond of capsaicin on the nerve receptors.
The benefit of milk as a burning-sensation reliever has been widely used in many restaurants which have spicy foods on their menu such as Indian and Mexican restaurants. However, milk only alleviates the burning sensation that you feel in your mouth, not in your stomach. In fact, milk is not recommended for those who are suffering from upset stomach.
Another top-notch method to chill your mouth out is by putting a spoon of sugar in your mouth or sucking on a sugar cube. It is because capsaicin is spicy oil which is stuck in your mouth. Drinking water will not work at all as water and oil do not get along well. Therefore, you can try sucking a little sugar, instead.
Sugar soothes your mouth burning well because it can absorb the spicy oil produced by capsaicin. It also tricks your nerve receptors at the same time by providing a different strong taste that conceals the spicy taste and turns your focus on the eminently sweet taste. It sounds simple, but it works well.
- Peanut butter
Peanut butter contains fat that can ease up the tingling sensation due to capsaicin found in spicy foods. Peanut butter is high in fat which disintegrates the heat of capsaicin. The fat found in peanut butter will coat your tongue so that the heat will be alleviated.
Rice might not be as effective as oil and fat in relieving the burn sensation in your mouth. But it is worth trying. Rice and any other starches can absorb the heat caused by capsaicin. Furthermore, rice separates your mouth and capsaicin. That is the reason of why some Indonesian and Thai cuisines have rice along with spicy sauce on their menu.
- Lime and lemon
Lime and lemon are acidic. They are high in acid. On the other hand, capsaicin contains alkaline. The acid in lime and lemon will help you neutralize the heat of capsaicin. You can simply suck their juice or process the juice by using juice extractor to make a glass of tasty lemon juice.
Spicy food does you good
Spicy food is not an atrocious dish. If it were, there would not be many foodies crave for spicy foods. In fact, spicy foods have been more popular recently. Many restaurants begin to add spicy foods in their menus to hook more people. It proves that tasty spicy foods can grab people’s attention easily and get them to take a crack at spicy foods.
Spicy food is not only tasty, but they also does you good. If you take an avid interest in spicy food, you can get many healthy benefits. The drawbacks of indulging in spicy foods do exist, yet they are outweighed by the abundant health benefits of spicy food intake. Here are the benefits of consuming spicy foods:
- Lower the risk of heart attack
Some reliable study that was published in popular health care journals such as Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry and American Chemical Society found that capsaicin, the active ingredient found in chili peppers, can lower your cholesterol levels. When your cholesterol levels are low and stable, your heart’s health is improved.
Chili peppers also contain vitamin A and vitamin C. They make your blood vessels stronger and improve your cardiovascular system as well as lowering your blood pressure. A good cardiovascular system and stable blood pressure can lead to lowering the risk of heart attack, stroke, and hypertension.
- Shed a few fat
Are you going on diet? Do you begin to fed up with that bland diet? You can try tasty and challenging diet that can shed a few pounds. Try adding spicy food in your diet for weight loss and experience a fun diet.
Capsaicin in chili peppers can improve metabolism up to 5% or 8%. Metabolism is a process of changing food especially carbohydrate into energy. Excess carbohydrate will be stored into fat. Therefore, when metabolism improved, your body will be able to burn more fat. And, eventually, a few pounds will be shed.
Spicy food also improves your satiety. It will make you feel stuffed for a longer period of time so that you will not succumb to the temptation of grabbing some snacks.
To shed more pounds and get in shape, you also need to increase healthy food intake and hit the gym regularly in addition to eating spicy foods. Combining something hot with high-protein foods may be superb at getting rid of fat and building your muscle. But you have to careful with the amount of heat that you can put up with.
- Ease some pains up
Have you ever applied pain-relieving cream or patch over skin when you feel fatigued? The patch provided comfortable warmth that eased your pain up, didn’t it? Have you ever wondered where the warmth of pain-relieving patch come from?
The warmth of pain-relieving patch and cream comes from capsaicin. Capsaicin provides the effect of anti-inflamatory which is responsible for soothing your pain. Your pain is eased up by weakening the chemical component that transmits the pain signals to the brain. It also makes your sensory receptors do not aware of the pain. Therefore, the pain becomes less severe after applying pain-relieving patch.
- Lower the risk of cancer
Some study to find out whether spicy food has a significant effect in lowering the risk of cancer was conducted. The researchers used mice in this study. The mice were fed with capsaicinoid foods. The researcher found that antioxidant and anti-inflammatory in chili peppers enabled the mice to reduce tumors. It proves spicy food is one of the effective treatments for cancer.
Capsaicin has also been proven to hinder the growth of prostate cancer up to 80%. It only causes damage to the cancer cell and does not cause any harm to the normal cells.
- Better your mood
If you feel so stressful and bored due to being at work all day long, you can blow off steam by going to a restaurant with your friends and order a very spicy dish. It will make you feel better.
Capsaicin stimulates our brain to release a feel-good hormone called endorphin. Endorphin is a hormone which is responsible for weakening pain and creating happiness and excitement. That’s why you will feel better and less stressful after enjoying something spicy.
- Remedy for cold
When you catch a cold, you experience a very uncomfortable feeling, don’t you? You feel dizzy and hard to breath because your nasal has been stuffed up by mucus. Some people overcome it by taking inhaler. Now you can take a crack at a new method of alleviating your breath. Yep! It’s spicy food.
The heat of capsaicin acts as decongestant, expectorant, and pain reliever. It will help you relieve your congestion since the burning effect of capsaicin wipe out the mucus which inhibits your breath.
Well-known spicy foods that you should try
Now you know the health benefits that might outweigh the drawbacks of spicy foods. If you are a foodie wants to obtain the health benefits of spicy food in a yummy way, you need to try these well-known spicy foods around the world. You can try this best spicy foods recipes for your daily.
If you are a real foodie, you must try the best food in the world according to CNN. Yes. It is a traditional cuisine from Indonesia, Rendang.
Rendang refers to the technique of preserving food naturally by braising the beef with various kinds of chilies, spices, and coconut milk and stirring it steadily for 4 hours. The goal of stirring it steadily is to evaporate the sauce and caramelize it until it is dry and there is no sauce left. This cooking technique makes the beef absorbs the sauce perfectly so that the beef becomes tender and spicy.
This is a deadly food derived from India. Vindaloo is made of black pepper, garlic cloves, yellow onions, ginger, cumin, paprika, lemon juice, vinegar, tamarind paste, and chilies. Indian’s chilies are famous for their extreme heat. You can imagine how Vindaloo tastes.
The combinations of extreme heat, sour, and either pork, lamb, or chicken are just perfect. It will make you cry for another one because you can’t help falling in love with the spicy Vindaloo.
- Tom Yum
Another sour and spicy food comes from Thailand. Tom Yum usually consists of either seafood or chicken, citrus leaves, lime juice, and bird’s eye chilies which are well-known for the super hot taste.
Spicy food is good for your body. It is such a unique dish which can make everybody has a crush on it. Indulging in spicy food is perfectly fine, but you have to remember that the goal of eating is to overcome your hunger and stay healthy. No need to bite off more than you can chew if you merely want to prove that you can beat the challenge.