Heres What Happens To Your Body When You Eat Super Hot Peppers
Thanks to hybridization, chili peppers are now spicier than ever before. But can too much heat actually harm your body?
Ed Currie wasn’t looking to make the world’s hottest pepper when he began crossbreeding chilies from around the globe in 2003. In fact, he was trying to raise the levels of capsaicinoids, compounds found in peppers, because he believes they have medicinal properties and can help protect against heart disease and cancer. I wanted more of that good stuff,” Currie told BuzzFeed News. The most common capsaicinoid is capsaicin, which gives the pepper its fiery edge.
So when Currie, founder of the PuckerButt Pepper Company in Fort Mill, South Carolina, hybridized plants using nine chili peppers from Asia and one from the Caribbean, he also created something spicier than anything hed ever tasted: the now world-famous Carolina Reaper.
I knew it was hot because when we gave them out to everyone, they started vomiting, Currie said. After a few successful growing seasons, Currie decided to find out where the pepper ranked on the Scoville scale, which uses Scoville heat units to measure capsaicin. It was 2005 when he teamed up with chemistry professor Cliff Calloway and his team of graduate students at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. His initial measurement was the hottest hed ever seen, Currie said.
Ed Currie holding Carolina Reaper peppers, in Fort Mill, South Carolina.
Carolina Reaper peppers
We spoke to a few experts to find out.
What Causes Gastrointestinal Symptoms After Consuming Spicy Foods In Sensitive Individuals
When spicy foods are consumed moderately, they offer several digestive health benefits. The stomach discomfort that many people experience may not be because of spicy food but other factors such as caffeine, alcohol, fatty or fried foods, tomatoes, and acidic citrus fruits.
However, a few people with bowel disorders may experience gastrointestinal symptoms following a spicy meal. When capsaicin enters the stomach, it stimulates gastric mucus production and speeds up digestion. The process of digesting spicy food may cause stomach pain and cramping. Later in the intestine, capsaicin triggers some reactions that speed up digestion. This helps digest foods that otherwise take a long time for digestion. However, during this process, sometimes, capsaicin stimulates a few nerves and draws more water into the colon. This can cause excessive contractions of the colon causing diarrhoea.
Capsaicin Brings The Heat
Habaneros and other chili peppers get their heat from capsaicin, an oil found in the seeds and inner ribs on the peppers. Capsaicin triggers the same nerves that tell the brain that it is getting too hot and causes a burning sensation. Scoville units measure the amount of capscaicin and, therefore, the amount of heat in a pepper or chili dish. According to the chili resource website Chili World, habanero peppers typically have 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville units of heat 1. In comparison, a cayenne pepper has 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville units of heat, and most popular hot sauces come in at 1,000 to 5,000 Scoville units.
Capsaicin is a potent oil, but there is no medical evidence that it is dangerous in any amount. The rumor that hot peppers cause ulcers is a myth, and capsaicin actually helps prevent ulcers by helping the stomach build up bile and killing unwanted bacteria. Capsaicin can aggravate preexisting ulcers and digestive disorders, so those suffering from any kind of digestive difficulty should consult their doctor before eating habaneros.
Your brain also responds to the burning sensation caused by capsaicin by releasing endorphins and other pain-relieving chemicals, and many chili enthusiasts report that they are addicted to the “high” they get from eating hot peppers.
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Side Effects And Warnings
Because capsaicin increases stomach acid, eating a lot of cayenne pepper will reduce the effectiveness of prescription and over-the-counter acid reducers. Talk to your doctor about your intake of cayenne if you take asthma medications, ACE inhibitors or blood-thinning drugs, as there may be potential side effects, including the risk of bleeding. The University of Maryland Medical Center explains that while eating foods with cayenne pepper is safe during pregnancy, you should not take supplements. Cayenne will also pass through breast milk while you are breastfeeding, during which time you should not use cayenne as a supplement or a spice.
Side Effects Of Lemon Juice Overdose: A Sour Note
When life gives you lemons, make lemonades, say some. We say, every once in a while, skip the lemonade. As much as you love lemons and swear by an early-morning lemon detox, you have to acknowledge that lemon juice has adverse effects. But the good news is that the side effects of lemon juice manifest only when you have too much.
Vitamin C overdose occurs when you have around 2,000 mg vitamin C. One 8 oz cup of lemon juice contains 94.4 mg. So it would take you about 21 cups of lemon juice to suffer from vitamin C overdose.
Lemon is an acidic fruit with a pH of 2, thanks to ascorbic acid and citric acid, which makes up about 8% of the dry fruit weight.1 Most of the side effects of lemon are due to its high acidity, and some are due to vitamin C overdose. That said, the risk of vitamin C overdose from lemons is quite rare since you need 2,000 mg vitamin C to overdose that is equal to 21 cups of lemon juice.23 But remember that it is not the only source of vitamin C in your diet and you might be taking supplements too.
Its best to have no more than 2 lemons a day or 3 cups of diluted lemon juice. Do keep in mind that side effects could also depend on your health and that of your teeth and gum.
Heres a look at the possible side effects of overdosing on lemon juice.
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What Are The Complications Of Gastritis
Chronic gastritis hurts your stomach lining. It can raise your risk for other health problems such as:
- Peptic ulcer disease, painful sores in your upper digestive tract
- Gastric polyps, small masses of cells that form on the inside lining of your stomach
- Stomach tumors, both cancerous and non-cancerous
You may also get atrophic gastritis. This can happen if your gastritis is caused by the H. pylori bacteria or by an autoimmune disorder. Atrophic gastritis destroys the stomach lining cells that make your digestive juices. This raises your risk for getting stomach cancer.
May Cause Iron Deficiency
As per mice studies, compounds in turmeric were found to bind to iron. This could decrease the bodys ability to absorb iron from food, thereby leading to iron deficiency .
If you have iron deficiency, avoid turmeric, and consult your doctor regarding its usage. Check your iron levels in your blood before including turmeric in your diet.
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Is It Bad To Eat Hot Peppers In Your Mouth
And hot-hunters are safe in the knowledge that although capsaicin, the spicy molecule in hot peppers, is activating receptors in pain neurons in their mouths, its not really causing any damage. Give it a few minutes, and the feeling that youve torched yourself will fade, only returning when the meal ah leaves
Why Does Cayenne Pepper Hurt My Stomach
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. Keeping this in consideration, does cayenne pepper upset your stomach?
However, eating too much cayenne pepper in one sitting may give you a stomach ache and make you feel sick . If you are taking medications for high blood pressure, such as ACE inhibitors, check with your doctor before trying capsaicin cream, as it may cause coughing .
Subsequently, question is, what helps settle your stomach after eating spicy food? A spoonful of sugar should help or honey can help. The sugar in honey and the granules can absorb the spicy oil and will provide instant relief. A lime or lemon may help too. A slice of lemon or citrus fruit will help neutralise the capsaicin by binding with them, kind of similar to what dairy can do.
In this regard, what are the side effects of cayenne pepper?
Possible Side EffectsCayenne tablets may cause stomach upset, sweating, flushing, diarrhea, and runny nose. It is not advised for long-term use. In rare cases, the overuse of cayenne tablets may cause liver and kidney damage. Topical capsaicin should never be used in children unless under the direction of a doctor.
Does cayenne pepper give you diarrhea?
There is a substance called capsaicin in certain kinds of peppers that can trigger diarrhea. Interestingly, casein, which is a protein found in milk, can lessen the burning effect of capsaicin.
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Can Increase Iron Content
Vitamin C increases non-heme iron absorption in your body. Thats bad news if you suffer from a rare inherited condition called hemochromatosis in which your body stores excess iron. Excess iron can damage your organs.
Cut down on your lemon juice intake if you know that your body stores more iron than usual.
The University of Virginia Health System claims that the amount of dietary vitamin C you normally consume is too low to cause problems, but it cautions against having orange juice with meals.13 A cup of orange juice has about 31% more vitamin C than 1 cup of lemon juice does.14 So its not necessary to skip lemon juice, but it might be a good idea to reduce your intake.
You’re Starting To Sweat
Sweating after eating spicy food is a normal response, so don’t be alarmed. It is, however, your body’s way of trying to cool you down, after the capsaicin in spicy food sends signals to your brain telling it that you’re overheating.
If you want to combat or reduce the effects of capsaicin, you can try drinking milk. In fact, drinking or eating any dairy products along with your spicy foods can be soothing and cooling, according to Dr. Greuner.
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The Positive Effects Of Spicy Food On The Digestive System
Recent studies have focused on the effects of two main spices chilli pepper and turmeric. The ingredients of these spices that provide digestive health benefits are:
The positive effects of capsaicin on the digestive system:
- Inhibits acid production in the stomach.
- Stimulates the production of saliva that helps in the digestion of food.
- Improves digestion by increasing the secretion of digestive fluids in the stomach.
- Improves the function of the digestive system by inhibiting enzyme production.
- Stimulates alkali, mucus secretions, and the blood flow to gastric mucosa that help in the prevention and healing of gastric ulcers.
- Helps combat bacterial infections of the stomach such as that caused by Helicobacter Pylori.
- Helps fight diarrhoea caused by bacterial infections.
- Protects the stomach from injury-causing agents.
- Reduces inflammation that causes discomfort in the digestive system.
The positive effects of curcumin on the digestive system:
- Possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that promote healthy digestion.
- Helps to treat acid reflux, flatulence, and functional dyspepsia .
- Improves digestive efficiency by helping with gut inflammation
- Blocks specific pain receptors that may help treat digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Dangers Of Black Pepper
Think twice before you automatically reach for the pepper shaker or grinder.
Herbs and spices have long been used to create tasty meals, as well as for their many mild therapeutic effects. They can possess antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, lipid-lowering qualities, are protective of the liver, kidney and gut, and have anticancer activities. Plus theyre safe.
Black pepper may be an exception. Especially in higher amounts it poses potential problems, which Ive noted throughout my career and will summarize again here.
Like the green version, black pepper is the cooked and dried unripe fruit from the Piperaceae family. The ripe seed of the fruit is white pepper. Black pepper should not be confused with red pepper, which is from an entirely different plant. While large amounts of red pepper could cause gut irritation in susceptible people, it does not have the potential damaging effect that black pepper has and offers many positive therapeutic properties.
We learned in the 1960s that the phytochemical safrole, found in such spices as sassafras and black pepper was potentially toxic in higher amounts. Subsequently, sassafras was removed from root beer, but people continued using pepper.
Because so much of the immune system is housed in the gut, immunity may be compromised too, along with function of the urinary tract, prostate, and potentially elsewhere.
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Health Benefits Of White Pepper Uses And Its Side Effects
White pepper is used extensively in the treatment of arthritis and joint pain. White pepper helps in lowering high blood pressure and improves heart health. It also helps to maintain the good cholesterol in the body. White pepper can help in preventing the occurrence of cancer and is a known spice for prevention of prostate cancer.
Globally, the occurrence of prostate cancer in males is increasing, and this is a natural food that can help to prevent the same. White pepper is useful in the prevention of impotence too. It improves sperm health like sperm count and sperm motility. It is useful in treating stomach disorders and helps in treating constipation. White pepper improves brain functioning also.
Very Serious Discomfort Aside There Dont Seem To Be Long
The responses that your body might have if youd swallowed a caustic substance come into play with high levels of capsaicin because that is, after all, what the molecule mimics. Those burn-sensing neurons, in your mouth, stomach, and elsewhere, are going to do their thing whether what youve swallowed will really kill you or just give you some discomfort on the toilet.
But, hours or a day or so of very serious discomfort aside, there dont seem to be long-term dangers, per se, in eating very hot peppers. Biologists have observed, however, that administering capsaicin over long periods of time in young mammals does result in the death of the pain neurons, Bryant says. Setting the neurons off repeatedly wears them out, and they dont grow back.
Interestingly, there is even a theory that pepper plants might have developed the molecule as a way to deter mammals from chewing up their seeds. Birds, which eat pepper seeds whole and helpfully spread them in their faeces, do not have the necessary receptors to feel the burn. But in humans, pepper plants have encountered a special kind of mammal that courts the feeling, to the edge of reason and probably a little bit beyond.
Luckily for the pepper, this does not seem to have damaged its fortunes.
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May Cause Breathing Problems
Eating too much ground cinnamon in a single sitting may cause breathing problems.
This is because the spice has a fine texture that can make it easy to inhale. Accidentally inhaling it can cause:
- difficulty when trying to catch your breath
Also, the cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon is a throat irritant. It may cause further breathing problems .
People with asthma or other medical conditions that affect breathing need to be especially careful of accidentally inhaling cinnamon, as they are more likely to experience trouble breathing.
Summary Eating too much ground cinnamon in a single sitting may cause breathing problems. The fine texture of the spice makes it easy to inhale and irritate the throat, which may cause coughing, gagging, and trouble catching your breath.
However There Are Some People Who Probably Should Avoid The Heat
Spicy food can exacerbate symptoms like heartburn or discomfort for people who already have an underlying problem that causes indigestion, such as acid reflux , a stomach ulcer, or gallbladder issues. Theres no evidence that capsaicin will cause a stomach ulcer, which is most often due to a Helicobacter pylori bacterial infection or long-term use of NSAID pain relievers, like ibuprofen. But it can aggravate an existing one.
And hot foods might be a problem for people with ulcerative colitis and Crohns disease, which are inflammatory bowel diseases, or Celiac disease, a reaction to gluten that can damage the intestines.
If you take people who have poor bowels, for example, like people with Crohns or Celiac disease, where the protective barrier in the intestines doesnt have good integrity, capsaicin can make things a lot worse, Kumbhari said. People with irritable bowel syndrome , which can cause diarrhea and constipation, may also want to avoid spicy foods. In these cases, the capsaicin may not cause inflammation, but it can worsen symptoms.
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Ways To Reduce Irritation
If you enjoy the flavor of cayenne in your food or your doctor has advised you to take it as a supplement, consume the cayenne as part of a meal or just before a meal to reduce stomach irritation. Because capsaicin does not enter the body through your skin, it will linger on your fingers after preparing cayenne peppers. Take care not to touch your eyes, skin or open wounds if you’ve been handling cayenne — dried or fresh — with your bare hands.
Can Cause Nausea Vomiting And An Upset Stomach
Lemon juice is chock-a-block with vitamin C. While vitamin C is an essential nutrient, too much of it is a health hazard.
Nausea, vomiting, and an upset stomach after drinking lemon juice may indicate that you need to cut down on your vitamin C intake.
When you have too much lemon juice, your body cannot absorb all the vitamin C in it. To flush out the extra vitamin C and restore balance, water rushes into the bowel. Nausea, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea are typical symptoms of the problem.10
But like we mentioned, its difficult to overdose on vitamin C. So you may not experience this side effect unless you are already taking a lot of vitamin C supplements.
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