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Hot and Spicy Foods

Many people will celebrate Cinco de Mayo by choosing hot and spicy Mexican food. Many believe that hot and spicy food will cause stomach ulcers and problems. Others believe that hot and spicy food is healthy. Which is true?

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Chili images used with permission of ABKL Designs
© Bobbie Jean Peachey

Hot and Spicy for Health

Spicy Food is Good for You
Research shows that hot chili pepper decreases the output of gastric acid and can also reduce stomach bleeding when taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines and painkillers. There is also some evidence that hot chilies can reduce cardiovascular disease risk and that adding chilies to your meals may prevent buildup of cholesterol in the blood, and may also reduce insulin requirement which could help in the treatment of diabetes.
Spice Up Your Diet and Live Longer
Other research shows that people who include hot spices and fiery sauces in their diets lead healthier, longer lives than those who have a more mild palate", states Adrienne Turner. The capsaicin in chillies and hot peppers, and the curcumin in turmeric have shown to be beneficial in Alzheimer's disease, high blood pressure, digestion problems, cholesterol, join pain, and depression, and that cultures that use hot peppers and spices in their diet have lower rates of cancer, heart attack, stroke, and pulmonary embolism.
Kimchi Used During SARS Epicemic
There is some evidence that during the SARS epidemic many people in Asia ate kimichi to ward off the disease. Kimichi is cabbage Kimchi is cabbage fermented with a lot of red peppers, garlic and ginger and if you don't have a cast iron stomach, could really hurt you.
Hot and Spicy to Fight a Cold
Break up congestion with a bowl of chili or other spicy foods containing horseradish, hot pepper sauce, hot mustard or curry. Hot Mexican or Indian foods are good congestion busters.
Hot, Spicy Foods are Stimulants
Hot spicy foods stimulate the circulation and raise body temperature.

Hot and Spicy Fun Facts
Did you know that people who love fiery food have been dubbed pyro-gourmaniacs?

Hot and Spicy Cautions

That Burning Sensation
What about that awful burning sensation you get from eating hot spicy foods? Toronto gastroenterologist Dr. Khursheed Jeejeebhoy says that the best remedy to the burning sensation is to build up a tolerance for the food.
Cool Burning Mouth After Eating Chilies
Drink milk, drink sugar water, drink alcohol, rinse your mouth with oil, or try some of the other suggested listed.
Spicy Foods and Hemorrhoids
A 3006 study determined that red hot chili pepper powder had no effect whatsoever on formation or aggravation of hemorrhoids, but another study showed that hot spicy foods could make hemorrhoids worse.

Don't Drink Water
Drinking water doesn't stop the burning from eating hot peppers, but may spread the burning sensation.

So, the bottom line is, if you like hot and spicy foods, then go for it, but build up tolerance if you aren't used to the heat. If the hot and spicy peppers or foods cause you discomfort, then discontinue eating them and check with your physician if the pain continues.

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