General Question

deaddolly's avatar

Spicy foods = health risk?

Asked by deaddolly (3431points) September 23rd, 2008

My daughter’s boyfriend was having bad stomach problems and had to be rushed to the ER. They admitted him and he was told to cut out all spicy foods. The doctor gave an example of jalapeno peppers…the peppers have little hairs on them that act like barbed wire going down your esphogus.
Seems her boyfriends esphogus was ripped to shreds. He’d eat peppers by the jar full. He’d also drink, which made everything worse. Has any one ever heard of this?

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24 Answers

stratman37's avatar

never heard of the barbs on Jalapenos, but I know they DO burn on “re-entry” if you have too many in one sitting!

drhat77's avatar

will pubmed this, BRB

marinelife's avatar

Ben Franklin is still wise more than 200 years later: “Moderation in all things.”

Spicy foods are actually quite good for your health in general. Curry has been shown in scientific studies to cut the risk for Alzheimer’s. Turmeric, the yellow spice in curry powder has proven beneficial against joint inflammation from arthritis, capsaicin (the substance in hot peppers) has an anti-cancer effect. The list goes on and on. You can read it all here.

stratman37's avatar

yeah, Marina!

shilolo's avatar

Oy, vey, Marina, not this again… :-)

As far as the actual question, some people have acid-reflux disease which is triggered by spicy foods. Untreated acid reflux disease can lead to Barrett’s esophagus, ulcers, and esophageal cancer. Otherwise, there isn’t a definitive association of eating spicy foods with other diseases as far as I know.

deaddolly's avatar

Yes, I know about acid-reflux…but I never knew about peppers doing so much harm.

This doctor made it sound like if you ate them, it was like swallowing nails.

stratman37's avatar

When I’m congested, a bunch of Jalapenos is JUST what the Dr. ordered!

Nimis's avatar

Strat: Oh, man. That is NOT the type of pipe-cleaning I’d need. Ouch.

stratman37's avatar

Depends on which pipes we’re talking about, huh?

makemo's avatar

There’s an interesting fact that birds eating hot peppers of the Capsicum genus, are completely immune to its stinging effects. (Not so improbable, though, as their ‘task’ is to spread the seeds.)

hoosier_banana's avatar

Little hairs are not like barbed wire, no matter what, and jalapenos are smooth. That Doctor has quite the imagination!

marinelife's avatar

@shi You wound me, good doc. One Alzheimer’s study was from American Journal of Epidemiology Nov 2006. There were several others from similar sources. The arthritis info was from “Efficacy and mechanism of action of turmeric supplements in the treatment of experimental arthritis”, Arthritis & Rheumatism November 2006, the cancer evidence has several sources including a study published in March 2007 Cancer Research and one in August 2007 in Cell Cycle.

I stand my ground.

makemo's avatar

Dummy fact: I once had a whole habanero (sorry for drifting slightly offtopic… still, I’d like to think I have some bragging rights).

marinelife's avatar

@makemo Oh, you do. A feat indeed. I once accidentally ate one of those little red peppers you are not supposed to eat in Chinese food. I thought I might have to go to the ER.

shilolo's avatar

When I first moved to New York City from the middle of PA, the lab I joined went out for lunch at a Chinese restaurant. I naively ate like ten of those little red peppers, thinking they were part of the food. I have never been more embarrassed in my life. I couldn’t pour water into my mouth fast enough, and I turned a shade of red that I didn’t know possible. Of course, I was the laughing stock of the lab for quite some time. Bu hao!

makemo's avatar

Funny, though. Capsaicin, the chemical compound of chili peppers, is actually known to cause addiction. Everytime I’m passing by the vegetable section in the grocery store, I’ll experience increased saliva production (some call it drooling).

cooksalot's avatar

I remember when I was pregnant I craved hot peppers. Matter of fact when people gave me bland food because I was pregnant I actually got heart burn. Spicy food had no effect on the heart burn. I know I’m weird totally backwards. Did you know that if you have a cut that won’t stop bleeding you can use powdered Cayenne pepper to stop the bleeding. Just a piece of homeopathic trivia.

jca's avatar

when you said the guy drank, i believe alcoholics are prone to cancer of the esophagus. i am not saying this guy was an alcoholic, but you did say he drank, so maybe he drank to excess? heavy drinkers are prone to all kinds of health problems.

deaddolly's avatar

@jca He didn’t drink a lot, but when he did it irritated him even more, esp after he had spicy food.

stratman37's avatar

Makemo: we’re in the same club!

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shirleylopez's avatar

I haven’t heard that jalapeno or peppers can cause that damage on the throat. On the side, I use jalapeno mixed with lemon and onions when I have runny nose and cough. I chop the jalapeno and onions, put some lemon juice and squeeze the mixture. Get the liquid and drink. It helps to make me feel better.

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