Dr Sanjay Agrawal
Leading Pharmaceutical Consultant and Editor-in Chief of IJMToady
Indians love spicy food. Normally, spices are added to the food items to get a very tasty food. Any eatable item, excess consumption is very bad. It either makes disease or lead to prolonged illness. Spices are basically a combination of various types of naturally occurred acids.
According to gastroenterologist experts, once spices reach the digestive tract they may cause irritation to the stomach’s mucosal lining and increases the acid secretion and reduce the strength of the gastritis mucosal barrier. And excess indulgence of spicy food may cause various stomach diseases. The main reason behind these problems is the presence of high acidic content in spicy food. Although spices provide many vitamins and nutrients that are present in abundance and excess of these nutrients create harmful effect to human body. These combination of various types of naturally occurred acids of spices, when these acids are getting into the stomach of human body, which already has its own acidic contents, it begins damaging the walls of the stomach. Excess spicy food will create ulcers in the sensitive mucosal lining or in the small intestine, called the duodenum (duodenal ulcer), or either in the esophagus (esophageal ulcer). Gastric ulcers are painful causing burning stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and body weight loss. Spicy food raises the body temperature, which may trigger insomnia thus it is advisable to avoid spicy food at dinner. Spicy food is safe for consumption when it is taken in moderate quantity. It is also advisable one can take spicy food only three times in a week. It is also advisable it be taken in main meals only. Maximum avoid combination of fried oily and spicy food as it can enhance acid secretion and should be avoided having spicy food in late night meal. It is better consuming milk in order to neutralize acid secreted by spicy food. People having digestion problems due to spicy food, then take antacids one hour after the meal and before bedtime.
Excess consumption of spicy foods can cause gastritis, which is an inflammation in the lining of the stomach. This is caused by infections and triggered by eating too much spicy foods. Chronic gastritis can lead to ulcer disease. Too much spicy items can also trigger acid reflux. When a person burps (expel gas from the stomach) loudly after consumption of a spicy item foods, it means that his body is not capable to cope up with the spicy food that he has consumed. Chronic acid reflux can lead to esophageal cancer but it is reported only in rare case.
Insomnia or chronic sleeplessness disease – it is best not to consume spicy food before going to bed. Because when we eat spicy food items, it raises the body temperature and disrupts the sleeping pattern. This can eventually lead to a chronic sleeplessness.
Burning mouth syndrome
Consumption of too much hot and spicy food burns the tongue. A burning tongue leads to continuous burning sensation in every corner of the tongue. It may also result in the burning of lips, inner cheeks, soft and hard palate of the mouth, which is termed as burning mouth syndrome. The patient having a burning sensation in the tongue may have or a decreased and altered taste while eating. Eating excess spicy foods that are too hot can cause reflux disease in which the food may be pushed back to the esophagus from the stomach during the digestion process resulting in a vomiting sensation. Over consumption of spicy foods is said to enhance the acidic secretions in stomach which over a period can damage the inner linings of the stomach. It is not only about the stomach health but the hot foods can even irritate small intestine and may disrupt bowel movement. It may even cause ulcer or may even lead to stomach cancer, according to recent research.
Excess use of spicy food creates hyperacidity, it is also known as acid dyspepsia, and is generally a result of incorrect and irregular eating habits and is one of the common ailments seen in people and is also one general problem in which the stomach generates many acids. It can be caused due to various types of spicy foods, medications and stressed lifestyle of human. Hyperacidity has many symptoms such as sudden stomach ache (physical pain), vomiting, losing appetite, flatulence and heartburn. Sometimes, the problems aggravate and lead to other complications such as chronic indigestion and gastric ulcers. The way of eating and what items of eating are some of the important factors on which hyperacidity depends. Spicy, oily and fried foods cause more problem of acidity.
High dose of cinnamon dangerous
Cinnamon is a culinary spice that is used in many cuisines as well as various food products. However, there are a few side effects of this spice. Excess consumption of cinnamon could cause problems such as breathing difficulty, increasing heart beat and causing to sweat, and also getting for a period of depression. Cinnamon might also make rosacea symptoms worse, and cinnamon oil could increase risk for oral cancers. A natural chemical called coumarin in cinnamon might harm the liver, daily use of cassia cinnamon could lead to liver disease. Cassia Cinnamon has the properties to thin blood, but the danger of cassia cinnamon is that it will damage liver because of high coumarin content of it. This blood thinning properties are particularly high in cassia cinnamon, while ceylon cinnamon does not have the blood thinning property. This blood thinning property of cassia cinnamon helps it in acting as an anti clotting agent especially for those suffering from heart disease. High doses of cinnamon could be dangerous for those with a heart condition as cinnamon is known to increase heart rate. Similarly undiluted cinnamon oil can cause rapid heart rates especially in children. So, cinnamon oil is especially powerful and should be diluted before using it.
Pregnant women should avoid cinnamon consumption because it will cause premature labour or uterine contractions. Even smelling cinnamon oil at pregnancy state should be avoided.
Globally ginger is known as one of the most important spices. For the last thousand years Chinese medicine has recommended the use of ginger to help cure and prevent several health problems. It is known to promote energy circulation in the body while positively increasing the body’s metabolic rate. Ginger was also widely used by the ancient Romans. Ginger is a herb but is often known as a spice, with a strong distinct flavour that can increase the production of saliva. The part that is used as spice on the plant itself is the rhizomes or ginger root. Ginger can prevent blood-clotting in the circulatory system by preventing platelets to clump together. While the number of instances where this has occurred is unknown, it is nonetheless advised by medical experts that individuals avoid taking ginger if they are taking any blood-thinning medications like aspirin or warfarin. While ginger is recommended to help treat nausea related to pregnancy, pregnant women are advised to take not more than one gram of the herb daily, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Ginger may cause changes in the heart’s rhythm, although research study definitively confirming this side-effect is lacking. But, ginger may also cause fluctuations in one’s blood pressure if it is used in excess quantity. There are few side-effects associated with ginger, but one should still be aware of the risks before consuming any herb. Most of the common side-effects associated with ginger occur in the digestive tract, particularly the stomach and intestines. These side-effects rarely occur in low doses, but are a greater threat as dosage sizes increase. Side-effects include heartburn, diarrhea, oral irritations, burping, heartburn and upset stomachs. Many of these side-effects can be avoided by taking ginger supplements in capsules, such as enteric-coated capsules, which delay the body’s digestion of the herb until it enters the digestive tract. There are some dangers of using excess quantity of ginger. In order to best avoid toxic side-effects, try to consume less quantity of ginger. Ginger can interact with numerous other drugs. Antacids can be affected by ginger, which may stimulate the stomach’s production of acid, according to the National Institutes of Health.
By observing or looking at both the pros and cons of excess consumption of spicy foods have negative effects on the body, they have health benefits also, but the point is on excess usage. To maximise the benefits and avoid the drawbacks, it is advised consume spicy foods in only a moderate manner.