Are spicy foods bad for the stomach?

Although in reality we could apply a spicy flavor to almost any dish (for example if we add chili peppers, jalapeƱos, hot pepper or simple pepper), the truth is that Mexican food stands out and surprises precisely because it is rich in a wide variety of spicy dishes .

The most popular Mexican dishes in this sense? Undoubtedly they stand out -and surprise for their tremendous spicy flavor- dishes such as chiles rellenos, enchiladas accompanied by chili sauce, chilaquiles and chupulines (stuffed crickets that are spiced with very spicy spices).

Not in vain, for thousands of years certain spicy ingredients have been commonly added to many foods, forming part of an interesting variety of diverse dishes.

An example is the plant known by the name of chili pepper, that 20,000 years ago the man began to domesticate it probably for medicinal purposes, although this quality nowadays has been put in doubt by doctors and nutritionists.

Anyway, it is true that there are people who are passionate about spicy food, who prefer to spend some time in pain in order to enjoy this authentic culinary pleasure, and there are those who consider it a simple hell.

In any case, as with virtually any food, the truth is that everything really depends on the personal taste of each, so that there are those who go for a good dish with hot sauce and who simply can not stand it.

However, over the years spicy food has always raised a more or less common question: Is it true that spicy food can be negative for our stomach? To what extent can its benefits be useful, when on the other hand it can affect our digestive system ?.

The consequences of eating spicy for our stomach

According to different scientific studies, those who consume spicy food once or twice a week tend to have a lower mortality rate (around 10%), compared to those who consume spicy less than once a week. .

Moreover, those who eat fresh spicy foods (as with hot pepper), reduce the risk of dying of cancer, diabetes or coronary heart disease.

But, despite these benefits, many doctors are clear: Spicy may not be as beneficial for people with stomach ulcers or digestive problems.

In fact, there are many specialists who warn and warn about the habitual and / or abusive consumption of spicy foods, considering them as a potential and direct cause of development of conditions that can affect the stomach.

In many hot peppers we find the capsaicin, active component of this type of food and the main "culprit" of being stung, and that produce the sensation of heat when we consume them. But also can irritate the lining of the stomach, causing the appearance of pain and diarrhea in some people.

What happens with capsaicin is that, unlike what is actually thought, it does not cause damage to the stomach, but on coming into contact with the stomach tissue releases a chemical (substance P), which "tricks" the nervous system believing that there is a digestive damage, generating the burning sensation.

However, in the face of repeated exposure to capsaicin, substance P is depleted in the stomach or in any part of the stomach, and tolerance develops. For this reason, those who eat a lot of spicy do not develop symptoms, especially if this consumption is regular and extended over time.

However, Many doctors claim that spicy or very spicy food can be a risk factor for the development of gastroesophageal reflux. Therefore, it is advisable to consume pungent foods only punctually, and never excessively.

Not recommended for those who suffer from digestive problems

Of course, the fact that spicy foods do not actually cause damage to our stomach, does not mean it can be a suitable food for those who do have some kind of problem, disease or digestive disease.

It is the case of those who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux, in which the acid found in the stomach cavity returns to the esophagus, causing symptoms such as heartburn, pressure in the back of the sternum and upset stomach.

Nor is it recommended to consume it in those who have ulcers, given that capsaicin can act in these cases as a dangerous irritant, also causing more associated symptoms.

Do Stress and Spicy Foods Cause Peptic Ulcers? (September 2021)