If you regularly eat spicy food, it’s quite likely that at some point you’ve wondered if it’s actually a suitable type of food, especially for the health of our digestive system.
In fact, some time ago we asked ourselves the following question: are spicy foods bad for the stomach? Thanks to this we were able to discover that this type of food is not suitable for people with digestive problems or stomach ulcers, since capsaicin (the component that causes this “itching” when we consume it), tends to irritate the stomach lining.
This is why many doctors discourage the consumption of spicy foods in patients with digestive problems, stomach ulcers or gastro-oesophageal reflux. Although their consumption is allowed for those who do not suffer from these types of problems…
What’s more, recent scientific studies have confirmed many of the benefits that spicy food offers us: it helps us live longer, it is useful in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, and it also helps us lose weight.
What are the benefits of spicy food?
We must bear in mind that most of the benefits that spicy food offers us are due to capsaicin, the active ingredient and main “culprit” of this type of food that generates heat or burning and the symptoms that it generates when we eat it.
It is a substance with irritant qualities, which plants of the Capsicum variety produce in order to defend themselves. And it is the one that offers us all the qualities that chili and hot peppers provide. And what are these benefits? Take note:
Helps reduce the risk of cancer: An experiment carried out on mice proved that capsaicin was able to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer tumorsand that’s 80%. On the other hand, another investigation carried out in India found that capsaicin is capable of attacking cancer cell membranes.
Promotes fat loss: It has been shown that spicy food, and in particular capsaicin, is capable of promote fat lossThis is because it acts by means of a thermogenic effect, increasing the calories consumed by our body when digesting food.
It helps us to live longer: population-based study conducted by Harvard UniversityOne , in which half a million people were analysed, found that spicy food was able to reduce mortality by 14%, including common causes such as cancer, respiratory diseases and coronary or cardiovascular diseases.
Recommendations to take into account when eating spicy food
But far from what you might think, this does not actually mean that spicy food damages the stomach, but that when it comes into contact with stomach tissue it releases substance P, a chemical capable of “tricking” the nervous system into believing that there is digestive damage, when in fact there is not.
However, substance P can become depleted with repeated exposure to capsaicin, so those who consume spicy foods regularly tend not to develop the typical discomfort or symptoms that anyone can develop when they consume it on time or for the first time, as they become more tolerant of these signs.
However, despite its qualities, it is advisable not to abuse spicy food, and to avoid it especially when we suffer from gastroesophageal reflux or digestive ulcers, as these are the main contraindications when consuming this type of food.
This article is published for information purposes only. It cannot and should not substitute for consultation with a Nutritionist. We advise you to consult your trusted Nutritionist.