2

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Why jalapenos if not grains?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 25, 2012 at 4:23 PM

If a primary reason for not eating grains/gluten is due to inflammation (grains have a chemical defense mechanism and all that), why are spicy foods like jalapeno peppers OK to eat? Don't they have similar biological defense mechanisms?

I've read that the capsaicin in peppers (hotter = more) is an anti-inflammatory. It seems to be a defense against fungi. But wouldn't predators (i.e. humans) find this mechanism distasteful as well and, as a result, have NOT evolved to process/digest such spicy foods?

Can someone help me understand this seemingly counter-intuitive fact or point me to some helpful resources?

9c8a6d20ee1db00a795709d6d2e2ce7a

(559)

on June 26, 2012
at 02:58 PM

I don't personally know of any to be honest. I can tell you that peppers have none of the most potent defenses that most grains have (gluten, wheat agglutination protein, gliadin...etc). They also have a far lower lectin content. Their chemical defenses aren't as noxious, nor as prevalent. I would assume these are the primary reasons why they aren't subjected to as much scrutiny.

D19fa7b7fc8b5430c7d62447ed155fd7

(35)

on June 26, 2012
at 01:07 PM

I'm still not clear on the evolutionary/paleolithic side of things. Personally, I have no problem with bell peppers, for example, and I simply don't like very spicy peppers (but will use a little cayenne powder in a recipe). But why doesn't the "chemical defense" argument hold for peppers, while it holds for grains? Can you point me to some information, research, or a prior answer/article?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on June 25, 2012
at 04:34 PM

Hope this helps: http://www.everydayhealth.com/ulcer/ulcer-myths.aspx

E40b2fc9ddcf702bab9d61d28b8c8440

(505)

on June 25, 2012
at 04:26 PM

I agree, nightshades are known for causing inflammation, and hot spice certainly causes me pretty intense GI distress. Maybe it's more related to folks eating it if they seem to be able to tolerate it, just to enjoy their food more (like the occasional corn tortilla or margarita).

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4 Answers

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2
9c8a6d20ee1db00a795709d6d2e2ce7a

on June 25, 2012
at 04:58 PM

Correction: that's a hypothesis, not a fact. Anyway, the only way to know for sure is to experiment on yourself. Do you feel better when you cut nightshades out of your diet? It's true that peppers do have a bit more defenses than other plants, but it's still quite small compared to the amount in grains like wheat. I personally thrive on hot peppers, but not everyone will. That said, they are far more innocuous than some other foods, and removing them should be an added tweak once you get the basics down (no grains, vegetables oils, cut sugar...etc).

9c8a6d20ee1db00a795709d6d2e2ce7a

(559)

on June 26, 2012
at 02:58 PM

I don't personally know of any to be honest. I can tell you that peppers have none of the most potent defenses that most grains have (gluten, wheat agglutination protein, gliadin...etc). They also have a far lower lectin content. Their chemical defenses aren't as noxious, nor as prevalent. I would assume these are the primary reasons why they aren't subjected to as much scrutiny.

D19fa7b7fc8b5430c7d62447ed155fd7

(35)

on June 26, 2012
at 01:07 PM

I'm still not clear on the evolutionary/paleolithic side of things. Personally, I have no problem with bell peppers, for example, and I simply don't like very spicy peppers (but will use a little cayenne powder in a recipe). But why doesn't the "chemical defense" argument hold for peppers, while it holds for grains? Can you point me to some information, research, or a prior answer/article?

1
1bbcd2122d9c75b07440f22ef57d6448

(2934)

on June 25, 2012
at 06:03 PM

Spices have antibacterial properties when incorporated into food. In warm equatorial climates where bacteria are rampant, humans adapted their food preparation to include spices, eliminating or minimizing bacteria in what they consumed. (Think Indian or Mexican food versus European. People from these "spice-friendly" cultures tend to be more tolerant to hot foods.) While this is technically a neolithic development, it's a useful one. First of all, it's tasty. Secondly, capsaicin can be a metabolism booster, which leads to more of that nice fat-burning everyone's looking for.

0
C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on June 25, 2012
at 04:57 PM

I have problems with too much jalapenos. Almost like an allergic response, so I don't use them often in cooking. Cayennes and some other hot peppers don't cause the same response.

0
Bdb3c064847345dfe122af3aec2d69e8

on June 25, 2012
at 04:55 PM

Cuz most spicy peppers are extremely dense in micronutrients (vits A, C)? Capsaicin has other less agreed upon health benefits (lower BP).

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