Nuzulia MJ's Blog

The Danger of Spicy Food

Posted on: June 1, 2010



Spicy food is the choice of almost everyone, from children to adults. Everyone is fond of eating oily and spicy food since years ago until now because of its yummy look and taste. However, do not you know that it has bad effects for our body beside its appetizing taste? Someone can experience stomach problems or other conditions if the meal is a bit too fiery. Furthermore, constantly eating spicy food can have permanent negative effects for our body; they are stomach problems, burning sensation on skin, taste buds deterioration, and insomnia.

Having stomach problems is one of negative effects from eating spicy food. Not only to the stomach, chili peppers in the spicy food’s ingredient, produce burning sensation on the skin and mucous membranes. It includes the inside of the mouth that may cause blistering of the lips, tongue, and palate due to an active substance called “kapsiasin” in the chilies and peppers. Even the stomach will feel like burning after eating spicy food. The feeling of burn will be able to make the stomach feels sore or painful. The effect because of the pain in the stomach will make someone has less desire eating or doing something.

One respondent said, “After eating too much ‘rujak’ that contains more than ten chilies in it, my whole mouth including lips, tongue, palate, and also my throat are burnt. More importantly, my stomach feels like there is fire in it. Therefore, I need to extinguish it by drinking more than five glass of water. However, I am not deterred from eating spicy food because it is very delicious.”

That is just a small effect about the stomach problem, there is even worse. Another respondent said that when she ate “bakso”, she felt her stomach was shaking because she put more than three spoonfuls of “sambal” in it. Because of burning sensation she felt in her mouth and her stomach, she did not have any desire to do or eat anything because she got stomach upset. The next day, she had diarrhea and it happened for about two days. Hence, that was the last time she ate any spicy foods. Both her parents and she did not want that incident happen again.

The worst also occurred to one who has digestion disorder. Heni, who has this illness, said that her stomach is very sensitive of spicy food beside being stressful. She once ate something fiery, and then her stomach felt so painful and sore because of it. When she checked to a doctor, he said that she is not allowed to eat anything spicy because it can worsen the condition of her stomach. Besides, she has stomach infection because of the ulcer on it.

Another problem from eating too much spicy food is taste buds deterioration. Constantly eating hot and spicy food can permanently reduce the sensation of taste and sense at the tongue. Most people assure others that they will get used to the burning of chili peppers. It is true, people do feel less scorching after years of spicy abuse, but not because the tongue gets “used” to the sensation. Over time, the taste buds will wear out, make this reduced sensation nothing more, and there will be no sense on the tongue at all. It is no different from people getting “used” to loud music in clubs. In both cases, the ears and the tongue will suffer permanent deterioration.

One of university student in UMM might get this deterioration on her taste buds because of spicy food. Since she was seven years old, she never has meals without having “sambal” with it that is so spicy. Even if she did not have it, she would get any chilies she had. She said that she could not eat without any spicy in her food. Although the “sambal” tastes very spicy for others, she did not say so. It could be that her taste buds are reducing the sense of fiery food because she could not sensitively taste the hot sensation of spicy food any longer.

Nobody will think that eating spicy food can cause insomnia. It is hard to believe, but that is true. Insomnia is another bad effect of fiery food. It is bad for sleep because of the simple reason that spicy food raises body temperature. If someone consumes something fiery before going to bed, it can disrupt sleep because the body is particularly sensitive to hot food.

One respondent said, “I used to eat snack before I went to bed. At that night, I just found a pack of snack that is very spicy. After eating it, I wanted to go to bed because I was full and it was getting late. In spite of this, I just could not sleep instantly as usual. I was sweating and I felt hot on my body. I took two hours getting to sleep. Then I realized that it happened due to that snack. Thus, I did not consume spicy snack again before going to bed ever since.”

Spicy food is very delicious regardless of its bad effects, so that is why many people like eating it. In Indonesia, do not be surprised if you find people use chilies as their main menu for the meals every day, as “sambal” or even as vegetables. Even though spicy foods are scrumptious, we should be more careful not to eat too much because it can jeopardize our body. It can cause some serious illnesses and other bad effects. Stomach problems, burning sensation on skin, taste buds deterioration, and insomnia are some of them. Therefore, for all spicy food lovers, please consider meticulously more about your health before eating your favorite food for now on or just do not eat too much in order not to harm your own body.


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