Is eating lots of chilli harmful?

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Tim Bennett

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Is eating lots of chilli harmful?
« on: 18/06/2008 12:27:17 »
Tim Bennett  asked the Naked Scientists:

Hello Naked Scientists

I found your podcasts online just before Christmas and have been listening to the podcasts at work ever since. They are superb, addictive even.

Speaking of addiction, I've developed a penchant for spicy food, in particular, chilli peppers. I eat them every day, sometimes just munching on them raw as a snack.  

People keep telling me I'm going to harm my insides by eating so much spicy food. Yet from what I can tell from reading various articles online, the chemical in chilli peppers, capsaicin, rather than being a health risk offers many benefits such as congestion relief, lower cholesterol and lower risk of stomach and prostate cancer.

I find them more effective than paracetamol as a pain killer and have noticed since eating them regularly I have not had a cold or cough.

Can you please tell me if eating so many chillies is at all detrimental to my health and has science fully discovered the potential of this fiery food?

Thanks for your time,

Tim Bennett

What do you think?


Offline RD

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Is eating lots of chilli harmful?
« Reply #1 on: 18/06/2008 21:18:57 »
has science fully discovered the potential of this fiery food?

Pepper spray (also known as OC spray (from "Oleoresin Capsicum"), OC gas, capsicum spray, or oleoresin capsicum) is a lachrymatory agent (a chemical compound that irritates the eyes to cause tears, pain, and even temporary blindness) that is used in riot control, crowd control, and personal self-defense, including defense against dogs and bears. It is a less lethal agent that can be deadly in rare cases. The American Civil Liberties Union documented fourteen fatalities from the use of pepper spray as of 1995. The active ingredient in pepper spray is capsaicin, which is a chemical derived from the fruit of plants in the Capsicum genus, including chilis. Long-term effects of pepper spray have not been effectively researched.

Tim, if you've been handling chilis wash your hands before visiting the toilet, otherwise this will be the expression on your face [:0] .
« Last Edit: 18/06/2008 21:27:40 by RD »