Spicy food: is it harmful? And why are some people better at it? – radar

Pikant eten: is het schadelijk? En waarom kunnen sommige mensen er beter tegen?

Some just don’t get enough of it and some hate it: spicy food. Several dinner guests had a discussion about whether the food. Although lovers of spicy food may like it, they are often less happy the next day.

But is spicy food bad for you? And how can one person handle it better? Radar detected it.


The capsaicin in hot peppers provides a hot feeling that your mouth is burning. This substance acts on your receptors and nerve cells in the tongue, which send an alarm to the brain. Because of these painful impulses of the brain, you feel heat and pain in your mouth.

Effect on the digestive system

After that mouth feeling, it’s time for the stomach and intestines to process the substance. Therefore, capsaicin has a pronounced effect on the digestive system: on the mucous membrane, nerve endings and intestinal muscle cells. With spicy food, these elements are additionally stimulated and the stomach secretes additional fluid. This is not harmful, but because of this liquid you get diarrhea faster.

Is spicy food harmful?

“It’s a myth that you can get stomach ulcers from spicy food every day,” gastroenterologist Danny de Luz previously stated on Nieuwsblad.be. Nor has spicy food been shown to cause permanent harm, both in people with healthy and sensitive stomachs. “It can cause discomfort, such as feeling heavy or cramping, but this has something to do with genetics.”

“You don’t get ulcers from excessive coffee, alcohol, or spicy food, nor from stress or a rushed lifestyle.” It’s best not to do this if you already have a stomach ulcer.

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More research

Recent research from Cleveland (USA) appears to indicate that a spicy diet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. However, there are observational studies that indicate an increased risk of gallbladder cancer from hot peppers. Regardless, more research on the effects of spicy foods is underway.

But why are some people more resistant to spicy foods now?

The first explanation can be found in the genes. According to scientists, the receptors on the tongue, which suffer from spiciness, are not equally present in everyone. As a result, one person finds sweet pepper flakes spicy and the other person can easily eat a portion of fiery noodles.

get used to

The most common and most researched explanation is that habituation occurs at the receptors. This is also called the “desensitization effect”: over time, you need more and more spicy food to experience that hot feeling again. So the receptors get used to capsaicin.

‘I love burning’

Some people may not be able to tolerate hot food better, but they like the feeling of heat, also known as “burning.” “Looking for that harmless pain is also called benign masochism,” Hitsubli says.

Spicy food poisoning

Spicy food can also be addictive and cause a type of poisoning. Capsaicin-induced pain stimulates the brain to produce endorphins, the body’s pain reliever. This produces a slight sensation of euphoria, NTVO says. Breathing quickens, the heart beats faster, and the pores open. The more food you eat and the hotter it gets, the more endorphins are released. This is one reason that once people start eating spicy food, they start eating hotter.

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There is also a limit to the number of pain stimuli that are sent to the brain. Your receptors get exhausted at some point. The more spicy you eat, the less pain! This is also the reason why people from other countries, such as Mexico or India, often tolerate spicy foods better.

Pron: KRO-NCRV, Heatsupply, Nieuwsblad.be, NTVO

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