The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

Spice Consumption

The effects upon the body and mind

Everytime we eat, we expect a burst of flavors. It is what makes eating enjoyable, all the different sensations of exploding flavors . The savory is accompanied by red meats cooked in mouth watering juices, the soft flavors found in sweet delicacies. Sour bursting in the fruits and the acidity accompanied by various condiments that makes your mouth water. The spice that makes your tongue tingle and burns the back of your throat. Not only does spice enhance the way our food tastes, but it has several effects upon the body that we may not think about.

That tingly feeling when you consume spice is caused by capsaicin, a chemical usually found within chili peppers. This was an evolutionary trait that evolved in chili peppers in order to deter animals from eating the fruit. It causes a burning, heating sensation that is unpleasant to most mammals, except birds. Due to the fact that birds are unable to register the effects of capsaicin, they can easily transport the seeds of the plant to spread and grow elsewhere.

Many people remember the first time we had an unexpected amount of spice, whether from cooking with your family, to a restaurant that made it a little too spicy for your taste. The short term effects when we eat capsaicin is sweating, the feeling of heating up, a runny nose, and possible stomach and indigestion problems. 

The excessive amount of sweat produced by your body is a reaction to the capsaicin. Your body believes that it is overheating, and produces sweat to cool yourself down. Unfortunately, when you eat spice you are not actually hot, and the setting you are in is usually air conditioned. The sweat produced is harder to evaporate in cooler areas, causing the illusion of excessive sweating.
A runny nose is caused when you eat spice to stop anything harmful from entering through your nose. When you consume spices, the capsaicin irritates the mucus membrane. This causes the nose to produce more mucus in order to lubricate and protect yourself from the perceived foreign substance.
The possible stomach cramps or indigestion when you eat spicy food is caused because capsaicin slows down digestion. This causes undigested food to sit in your stomach longer in order to properly break down the capsaicin first, then the remaining food.

Story continues below advertisement

However, not all effects made by capsaicin are seen. You have the short term effects that you experience right away, but we do not notice the positive health effects that it gives us. Spice consumption helps increase circulation and lowers blood pressure. Capsaicin helps release chemicals that expands blood vessels, and causes the lining in blood vessels to relax and increase nitric oxide, a molecule that helps promote the immune system. This chemical tricks the body into thinking you consume more salt, and in turn lowering the blood pressure in your body. An increase in spice intake is also associated with a significant decrease in possible cardiovascular disease and death caused by heart issues.

Consuming spice can also help relieve stress and depression. The body produces endorphins like serotonin, the happy chemical, in response to the sudden heat from spice, which is mistaken for pain. This helps your body produce happy chemicals that can make you feel better, while also decreasing the risk for developing depression, and experiencing burnout from stress.

Overall, spice can help you in your life farther than the short term effects you notice every time you consume capsaicin. It can help increase your mood, and possibly make you live longer by lowering the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, it makes food taste better, and some people enjoy the flavor and experience of eating spicy food. For all you spice lovers out there, keep eating that spice. And for those whose spice tolerance is low, you can still enjoy moderate amounts of spice without putting yourself at risk with extreme symptoms.

For more information, please visit,,and%20turmeric%20could%20decrease%20cholesterol, or

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All the JTAC Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *