Any connection with fighting a cold and spicy/chilli foods?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 04, 2012 at 5:55 PM

I just wondering if anyone knows if there is any link between fighting a cold/bug and the desire for spicy/chilli foods?

I personally stay away from spicy/chilli foods as get a food 'hangover' the next day. My least favourite food would be curries. I just don't know why anyone would willing eat them knowing what happens the following morning.

Anyway the last two days, especially today I have felt incredibly tired and feel I could nod off to sleep at any moment. For me this is normally a sign that I am fighting off a cold or burnt out from work, but what is interesting is that I have been attracted towards spice/chilli. Thursday I made a peppercorn covered steak, last night I put fresh chilli in my stir-fry and today I just ate a huge bowl of chorizo, spinach and tomato soup.

I have heard that in Chinese medicine they talk about your body either being too cold or too hot and that the energy balance can be changed by eating the right foods. I wonder if perhaps there is something in the stimulation of the spice/chilli that my body is desiring?



on February 04, 2012
at 07:17 PM

Nice idea with the horseradish.

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3 Answers



on February 04, 2012
at 06:48 PM

I don't get any of the "hangover" issues you are talking about with spicy foods... but everyone is different. I do, however, avoid takeaway curries because I always have a GI response to pretty much any takeout food.

However, due to the heavy sinus stimulation and irritation with spicy foods, I specifically avoid them when I have a cold. Sure, your sinuses get cleared out while eating them, but as soon as the burn is gone, twice as much mucus takes it's place.

Copious amounts of strong nasal stimulants that don't aggravate me are black pepper, horseradish, raw ginger, and wasabi. These items usually clear my sinuses, but also soothe them afterwards (probably because there is no capsaicin to provide additional irritation afterwards).

So my sinus cold food of choice is to grill steaks, and dip each bite in melted butter with horseradish added to it. The added benefit is that when your sinuses are plugged, your tastebuds are numbed. Strong horseradish can cut through that a bit.



on February 04, 2012
at 07:17 PM

Nice idea with the horseradish.



on February 04, 2012
at 10:58 PM

When I get a head cold my favourite soup is Chinese Hot and Sour because it opens up my nasal passages and gets things flowing again.

In non Paleo days another good way to clear nasal passages was 1/2 to 1 ounce of Chambord (black raspberry liqueur) and 1/2 to 1 ounce of brandy heated in a brandy snifter. Boy is that good!



on February 05, 2012
at 02:47 AM

The hot/cold body responses have been talked about in other cultures than Chinese medicine, and often they are opposite (perfect example being pregnancy, often considered "hot" by one culture, and "cold" by the next culture). So from a science perspective, there is nothing that connects hot/cold and the body besides some placebo and comforts associated with family tradition.

However, if you want to get those sinuses cleared out: horseradish, ginger, wasabi. Ginger tea is my favourite, breathe deep and steep well!!

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