Anyone who has felt the acid-induced aftermath of a spicy meal can understand why hot spices are often believed to cause ulcers. But while spicy foods may indeed aggravate ulcers, there is no evidence to suggest that they cause them.
The University of Rochester Medical Center says that bacteria called helicobacter pylori causes most ulcers, and anti-inflammatory painkillers cause the majority of the rest. Tobacco and alcohol use further exacerbate the risk of developing an ulcer. Spicy foods may intensify the painful effects of an ulcer, as can stress.
The Benefits of Hot Spices
A spicy diet has actually has several health benefits. Surprisingly, Best Health Magazine reports that hot chili peppers can work to protect the stomach lining and fight against the damaging effects of anti-inflammatory drugs. The risk of stomach cancer may increase when someone eats the equivalent 9-25 jalapenos per day, however that number is large enough that most people will not have a problem. Additionally, research has shown that capsaicin, the substance that gives spicy spices their kick, may kill lung and pancreatic cancer cells.
Great Ways To Incorporate Hot Spices Into Your Diet
- Two words: hot sauce. Hot sauce can be used on everything from eggs to sandwiches to noodle dishes. Sauces vary in specific flavor and spiciness, so there is a variety out there for everyone.
- Curry is a well-loved spice that is found in many Indian and Thai dishes. Some curries also include hot peppers, for a double whammy of spice flavor.
- Mexican food is also a typically spicy cuisine. Prepare a spice mix of chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, dried chipotle chile pepper, oregano leaves, and salt. Use on meat or in chili dishes.
- “Why spicy food is good for you”, Celia Milne, Best Health Magazine
- “Digestive Myths Slideshow”, WebMD
- “Health Myths and Facts”, University of Rochester Medical Center
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