Here Are 7 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Eat Spicy Foods

Spicy food: It’s something you either can’t get enough of, or sweat at the thought of putting it in your mouth. Personally, I can’t get enough of the heat: from curry chicken to buffalo wings—the spicier, the better, I say!

It’s good if you do like spicy food, because there are a lot of benefits that come from eating it. There are some not-so-great side effects too though. Nothing serious, just some unpleasant symptoms that could slow down your day.

If you eat a lot of spicy food, perhaps you’ve noticed some of these things that might happen as a result. From the good, the bad, and the ugly, here are 7 things that can happen when you eat something spicy:

  1. Good: Longer life

    It sounds crazy, but eating a lot of spicy food can have an effect on your longevity, according to a study published in the BMJ found that people who consumed super spicy foods six times a week reduced their risk of death by 14 percent over the course of seven years. When they ate spicy food two days a week, the risk of death was lowered by 10 percent. It can’t hurt to throw some red pepper flakes onto your eggs this morning to up the heat…and add to your life!

  2. Bad: Heartburn

    While spicy food won’t typically give you heartburn if you’ve never had it before, it could worsen the pain in people who do get heartburn or acid reflux regularly. You might notice a pain in your chest or stomach, you might be burping more than usual, and just have an overall feeling of yuckiness. Sometimes having some yogurt or sour cream with the spicy food can help reduce these side effects of heartburn.

  3. Good: Weight loss

    Eating spicy foods on the regular may help you burn more fat, according to a study published in the journal Current Opinion in Lipidology, which studied the effects capsaicin, the active ingredients in chili peppers, had on humans. Maybe the spice just burns all the fat away? We don’t know, but we’ll take it!

  4. Bad: Taste bud damage

    If you’ve ever noticed your tongue feels scorched after eating a fiery meal, you’re not imagining it. But don’t worry, it’s usually temporary. “Even if you eat Scotch Bonnet, which is the hottest of the hot, and damage your taste buds, they regenerate fairly quickly,” says Dana Hunnes, a senior dietitian and professor at the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA. However, if you eat too much spicy food, it could potentially cause permanent damage to your taste buds over time (but that’ll take a while!).

  5. Good: Aphrodisiac

    Talk about heating things up, spicy food can quite literally do that for you. Like oysters or chocolate-covered strawberries, spicy food is on the list of aphrodisiacs, which can help get you in the mood for you know what. (Just make sure you brush your teeth before getting in on the action!)

  6. Bad: Excessive sweating

    Ever eat something spicy and literal beads of sweat drip down your face? While you won’t get quite as dewy as you do sitting in a sauna, spicy food can definitely activate your sweat glands causing you to have your own little sweat sesh during dinner. (Not quite ideal for a first date, so maybe order something mild, if you’re in that situation!)

  7. The ugly: The runs

    Sorry guys, this might be TMI, but spicy food can act as an irritating, causing your bowels to get a little (or a lot) upset. “Capsaicin can act as a laxative for some people and cause a quick run to the bathroom,” says says Niket Sonpal, M.D., assistant clinical professor at Touro College of Medicine in New York City.

What’s your favorite spicy meal? What kinds of things do you experience when eating spicy food?