Does Spicy Food Kill Bacteria: The Question That Everyone Ask While Tasting A Hot Dish

One day, while cooking and tasting one of my favorite hot and spicy dishes, a bundle of questions emerged into my mind. Is spicy food beneficial for our health? Is it helping us or damaging us? Does spicy food kill bacteria? So many questions were colliding in my mind. I ate and kept thinking.

Now, if the same questions are also in your mind, why don’t you join me. Together, in this article, let’s explore why do people like spicy food and how spicy food is affecting us.

Does spicy food kill bacteria
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Does Spicy Food Kill Bacteria?

Researchers have discovered that spices kill bacteria while studying ‘how to control pathogens in food.’ Several studies indicated that common and popular spices, such as garlic, clove, and cinnamon, may be effective against certain strains of E. coli bacteria.

Spices like garlic, onion, and oregano are discovered to be the best all-around bacteria-killers by researchers. Likewise, thyme, cinnamon, tarragon, and cumin may kill up to 80 percent of bacteria.

On the other hand, capsicums, including cayenne, chilies, and other hot peppers, are in the middle of the antimicrobial pack of hot things. In contrast, pepper of the white or black variety restrains 25 percent of bacteria, ginger, anise seed, and celery seed.

However, more research needs to be done to ensure if spicy food kills bacteria. Nevertheless, no one can deny the health benefits of spices.

How Does Spicy Food Help Kill Bacteria?

Have you ever thought, what makes the spicyness? More precisely, what are the elements that make food spicy and kill bacteria? Capsaicin, piperine, gingerol, and allicin are the four chemicals responsible for the fiery heat on the tongue while eating spicy food.

Capsaicin is an organic compound produced by the seeds in plants of the genus Capsicum. It is the active ingredient that gives spicy food its fiery heat. It is mainly found in pepper and chilies. Oregano, cinnamon, and cilantro also contain capsaicin, though in minuscule amounts.

If you ever wondered in an Indian restaurant what makes Indian food spicy, it’s the chillis.

Allicin and gingerol are the other two compounds imputing a burning sensation on your tongue. Onion and garlic are two ingredients containing allicin. On the other hand, ginger has the burning compound gingerol. Piperine is mainly found in black pepper and long pepper.

Sometimes along with killing bacteria, hot spices can kill your mood. Take a few sips of milk to cool things off in the mouth. But why does milk help with spice? Well, it dissolves those four compounds and reduces their effectiveness.

Is Spicy Food Good For You? Benefits of Spicy Food

Spicy food is not everybody’s cup of tea, or I should say, a plate of food. But, if you like your lunch with a bit of kick, you’re in luck because the spicy food benefits are countless.

Metabolism Booster

Consuming spicy food regularly can boost your metabolism by increasing your heart rate and warming the body. However, few spices have antioxidant properties. It protects the cells of the body from damage by harmful free radical toxins. Now, does spicy food kill bacteria is a different issue that I will disclose pretty soon.

Are Spicy Foods Antibacterial? Yes, They Are

A few spices contain antimicrobial properties which protect us from bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. They also enhance the ability to boost the immune system. In addition, spices containing gingerol and allicin are mighty cold and flu fighters.

Anti-Inflammatory

Spices have anti-inflammatory properties. They help reduce or prevent inflammation in the gut, preventing damage to the GI tract like ulcers. They also reduce common symptoms of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.

Weight Loss

Does spicy food help you lose weight? Yes, it does. The enhanced metabolism and killing off bad bacteria ensure better digestion. So, you get enough nutrition to stay active and fit.

The impact of spicy chemicals on fat-burning is not huge. But, with exercise and a better diet, you can make it a significant factor. Thus, rather than thinking about is chili good for weight loss, it’s better to spice up your gym routine with some crunches and lunges.

Anti-Cancer

Research suggests that spices have anti-cancer properties. And you can serve spicy food for cancer patients for numerous benefits.

In one study, capsaicin has been shown to have the ability to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells. It also takes action against Hodgkin’s lymphoma and breast cancer. Yes, spicy food and breast cancer have a close tie from pre-historic times. On the other hand, piperine research shows assuring results on prostate cancer.

Let’s not forget about spicy food and pancreatic cancer. Some studies on gingerol propose that it may efficiently inhibit pancreatic, ovarian, and prostate cancer. Furthermore, allicin is found particularly effective against cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.

7 Herbs And Spices That Kill Bacteria

Here is a list of a few antibacterial spices and herbs that are favorites to spice lovers. These ingredients not only boost the tastes of your food but also enhance immunity by killing bacteria. And you don’t have to worry about how to make food less spicy. Because these are great for health.

Garlic

It is a strong-smelling antibacterial spice herb regarded for its many health benefits.  A report in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Research advised that one clove per day may induce a vast improvement in your overall health, while two to three cloves daily could help keep the common cold at the crack.

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This single spice herb contains antiviral, antifungal, and antibiotic properties. So, you can say goodbye to heart disease, kidney disease, and many infections. Instead, welcome strong immunity, healthy bones, and vigorous metabolism.

Cinnamon

Can cinnamon kill bacteria? Yes, it can.

Researchers at Kansas State University discovered that compounds in cinnamon kill Escherichia coli. Scientists experimented with apple juice tainted with approximately one million E.coli, adding a tablespoon of cinnamon. They left the mixture for three days. After three days, when the scientists checked the juice, do you know what they found?

99.5 percent of the bacteria had been destroyed in the liquid by cinnamon.

cinnamon
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Studies also show that compounds in cinnamon oil had an anti-bacterial fight against Pseudomonas aeruginosa. It is a potentially life-threatening, drug-resistant bacteria harmful to plants, people, and other animals.

In addition to this, the antibacterial and antifungal properties found in cinnamon oil are also effective against Streptococcus mutants. Streptococcus is the primary agent which causes oral infections and cavities in teeth.

Oregano

The study shows that oregano is a potent anti-fungal and a strong defense against Candida Albicans. Candida albicans is a common strain of yeast that can cause multiple types of infections. It can affect the mouth, genitals, and all areas of the skin. So, if you got candida, just take a handful of oregano.

oregano
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Now, does oregano mixed food, aka, does spicy food kill bacteria?  A substance called Carvacrol is found in many spices and herbs.

However, it has an immense density in oregano. The study shows that carvacrol is a powerful antibacterial against numerous strains of bacteria. It can destroy the cell membranes of bacteria and even stop them from multiplying.

Cayenne

It’s the time for fire. Yes, now the hot and fiery cayenne. This hot spice not only heats your food but also heats your body. Is chili too spicy? Of course not. It raises your metabolism, helps burn fat, and reduces the risk of heart diseases.

Cayenne as a spice, does spicy food kill bacteria
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People who avoid flaming cayenne thinking it will bother your stomach are doing the opposite. Instead, it effectively heals stomach tissues, stimulates digestive enzymes, and helps prevent stomach ulcers.

Some studies also show that it can slow the growth of cancer cells. It may even kill cancer cells for certain types of cancer, including prostate, skin, and pancreatic.

Turmeric

Turmeric, a close relative of ginger, is common in Indian, Southeast Asian, and Middle Eastern cooking. This vivid yellow-orange spice has been used as medicine in places like India for centuries.

Turmeric has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-microbial properties that fight off several infections. This antibacterial and antiviral agent can also work against respiratory system infections and block MDR-1, a gene responsible for resistance to multiple antimicrobial drugs.

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If you ask me, ‘does spicy food kill bacteria in mouth’ my answer will be yes, at least turmeric surely does.

Cloves

Clove, powerful natural medicine for centuries, has a unique sweet and spicy flavor. Adding clove as a spice in your daily dishes or adding it as a seasoning can increase the food’s immune-boosting power.

Cloves have vital antiseptic and germicidal components that support fight infections, reduce digestive problems and arthritis pain. One of the best-discovered uses of cloves is its ability to relieve tooth and gum pain.

cloves
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Cloves help digestive problems like gas, indigestion, nausea, and vomiting and eliminate harmful parasites, bacteria, and fungus in the digestive system. And the smell of cloves helps to encourage mental creativity too.

The antibacterial properties of clove may help decrease oral bacteria leading to gingivitis and cavities.

Check These Top 20 Immunity Booster Already There In Your Home

Ginger

Ginger: a strong super-spice for your health. Ginger comprises above 25 different antioxidants. As a result, it is remarkably effective at fighting free radicals in several body systems.

Several chemical composites in fresh ginger help your body ward off germs. They are exceptionally good at halting the growth of bacteria like E.coli and shigella. They may also keep viruses like RSV at bay.

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What Happens When You Eat Spicy Food Too Much?

Thus when you are inquiring ‘does spicy food kill bacteria in throat,’ the answer is yes. Unfortunately, it can trigger some swallowing and digestive issues.

Excess of anything is harmful. In terms of spicy food, excess consumption of hot fiery spicy food can result in abdominal pain and diarrhea. If you’re new to spicy food cuisine, build your tolerance first. Then, intake spicy food slowly and cautiously to minimize any unwanted symptoms.

Does Spicy Food Kill Stomach Bacteria?

Studies show that several spices, such as black pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, ginger, oregano, rosemary, and turmeric, have powerful antioxidant effects and possible probiotic effects. So, keep your gut good with spice.

In our body, there lives “Good Bacteria” and “Bad Bacteria.” Have you heard of Probiotics? Let me introduce you to the Good Bacteria “Probiotics” that live in your intestines and contribute to a healthy gut.

These bacterias provide us with necessary nutrients and help us in preserving the body from infections.  The bacteria in your gut can affect your metabolism, hormonal levels, and mood.

Without good bacterias in your gut, you would be unable to digest your food, synthesize several necessary vitamins, absorb water, and control the harmful bacteria that often try to attack your gut. Honestly speaking, without the billions of good bacterial cells in your body, you wouldn’t be alive today.

Spicy Food vs Flu Bacteria

Does spicy food kill bacteria that cause flu?

Well, those foods don’t cure or kill the flu bacteria. However, if you’re sick, eating them may help alleviate some of your symptoms, give you comfort, and support you in fighting your flu.

Spicy foods, especially chili and other hot peppers help you fight flu-causing germs. This compound may make your eyes and nose run but eventually help you break up congestion to breathe better. It also improves blood flow and metabolism.

Spicy Food And Your Teeth

Spicy food is everywhere, from Italy to India. So, there is no chance you can avoid them. And it is always sensational to add spice to your dish to spice up your life. However, does spicy food affect your teeth? Is too much spice harmful to your teeth?

The answer is “No.” Spicy food does not damage your teeth in general. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to be careful when you entertain yourself with spicy cuisine.

Usually, tooth decay starts with bacteria and worsens when you feed that bacteria a steady processed sugar diet. But onions, an ingredient in spicy foods, fight the bacteria that harm your mouth. Additionally, chili powder is known for protecting your bones and your teeth. It also helps with your gums’ mucus and tissue health and lessens inflammation from infection.

However, be cautious while eating spicy food like turmeric. It can cause severe yellowish stains on your teeth if you eat it often.

How Does Spicy Food Affect Your Brain?

Spicy food has a beneficial effect on the gut, teeth, and bone. But does it affect your brain too? Does spicy food wake you up in a great mood?

Surprisingly, spicy food is highly beneficial to your brain. Some spicy foods like turmeric have components that help Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease patients. In addition, some spices help reduce stress and, to some extent, improve your memory functions.

Does spicy food increase serotonin?

One study shows that spicy foods are somehow linked to happiness. Eating hot pepper can make you happier by simply initiating your brain to produce happy hormones such as Serotonin.

FAQ

Is spicy food bad for gut bacteria?

Research shows that spicy food containing garlic, clove, and cinnamon, can kill and reduce the growth of the harmful bacteria E.coli in your gut. They also benefit the development of probiotics, the good bacteria. in your intestines. So, the health benefits of spicy food are pretty awesome.

However, if you overeat spicy food, it might cause you abdominal pain and diarrhea. So, spice tolerance is needed first. And you can always ask your doctor ‘does spicy food kill stomach bacteria’ before adding new spices to your meal.

Does chili kill viruses?

Chili pepper does not kill viruses that cause your flu or other diseases. But, if you are suffering from a high fever, hot chili peppers can relieve the pain. It can also stimulate the immune system to fight off the virus.

Research also shows that the components in chilies may kill or inhibit 75% of pathogens of your food that may make you sick.

Moreover, chili pepper is rich in beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A and vitamin C. So, chili pepper can maintain your healthy respiratory, intestinal, and urinary system. No wonder benefits of hot sauce are so diverse because it contains chili.

Will spicy food kill parasites?

Parasites purge into fresh food left outside in hotter climates and win their way into people’s stomachs. Research shows that a spicy meal provided people with protection from lingering parasites in hot and humid weather.

Red hot chili pepper is potent against parasites. However, capsaicin, the main compound of chili, may not cure the human body of an infectious parasite; it can create a hostile environment for parasites to make you gut their happy home.

Is spicy food bad for your liver?

Spicy food is a liver-lover. Research shows that consuming spicy food daily, especially food that contains pepper benefits your liver immensely. Capsaicin, the active component of peppers, has a good effect on preventing and progressing liver damage.

So if you are still concerned if spicy food is bad for you, let me assure you they are not.

Is it healthy to eat spicy food every day?

Spicy food is the key to your long life. People who eat spicy food every day are solid and sound compared to less-spice eaters.

Spicy food keeps your heart healthy, develops your metabolism, and makes your immune system strong to fight infections. Recent research also shows that eating spicy food lowers death rates due to heart disease and stroke by 13%.

So, spice up your life and live long.

Verdict

Spice is life. And life is all about testing your limits. With spicy food, the good thing about ‘testing the limit’ is, it comes with boundless beneficial bags- antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal.

Does spicy food kill bacteria? Yes, it does. Some spices contain several components that fight bacteria and reduce their growth. Moreover, your body becomes strong to combat inflammation, improve heart health, and fight cancer.

If you are not into spicy food, start with less spicy foods and gradually go up. Trust me; you will be amazed to see the fantastic health benefits of spicy food.

Rubab Sikandar

I am Rubab Sikandar, and I have done MPhil in food and nutrition. I am a professional dietician and content writer. I always try to deliver the best content to the readers. It's my passion to write on medical, health and fitness. Sharing is caring so; I always share what I learned in my academic career.

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