04\ Dam­age Lim­i­ta­tion

Men's Health (UK) - - Burn After Reading -

Forg­ing a ca­reer out of eat­ing ab­surdly spicy foods is a vo­ca­tion of, one as­sumes, lim­ited ap­peal. But for Chilli Dave – com­pet­i­tive eater and co-founder of the Clifton Chilli Club – it’s all in a day’s work. Th­ese are his tips for pain man­age­ment

Shake it off

“High-fi­bre foods such as ba­nanas can as­sist with the tran­sit of the chill­ies through the di­ges­tive sys­tem,” he says, “while the fat in peanut but­ter will dis­solve harm­ful par­ti­cles. Add both to half a pint of milk and a scoop of pro­tein to strong-arm the pain.”

Ex­press your­self

“Fir­ing off a few choice ex­ple­tives in the throes of a heat­wave can help psy­cho­log­i­cally dowse the flames. Re­search from the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia ap­par­ently shows that ex­press­ing pain ver­bally can re­duce its in­ten­sity. Which I think is fuck­ing great.”

Mind over mat­ter

“I find that if you’re to­tally at one with your mind, body and soul, then, oc­ca­sion­ally, you’re able to con­vince your­self that the pain is just an il­lu­sion and that, even­tu­ally, all things must pass. Ad­mit­tedly, this is a lit­tle eas­ier said than done…”

Ev­ery time you in­gest the holy chilli, you set off fire­works in the body. Some you know all too well; oth­ers may come as a pleas­ant sur­prise. Here, we anatom­i­cally as­sess the ef­fects of cap­saicin on your con­sti­tu­tion, from liver dis­ease to heart health


Just a spoon­ful of hot sauce can be eas­ily enough to clear up si­nus con­ges­tion. In fact, a Uni­ver­sity of Cincin­nati study found that nasal sprays con­tain­ing cap­saicin were most ef­fec­tive for clear­ing up in­flam­ma­tion. It should go with­out say­ing that this is best taken orally.


Any­one who claims to have de­vel­oped a ‘ taste’ for in­cen­di­ary chill­ies is ly­ing. “It’s not the taste­buds that are ac­ti­vated but the pain-sens­ing nerves lin­ing the mouth,” ex­plains Dr Farrimond. “The rush of feel­good en­dor­phins is what keeps you com­ing back for more.” Re­mem­ber: the hot­ter the chilli, the greater the even­tual pay­off.

Fat Stores

If you’re car­ry­ing a lit­tle ex­tra bag­gage, don’t sweat about miss­ing the odd car­dio ses­sion: “The cap­saicin in chill­ies turns up the body’s in­ter­nal ther­mo­stat and can cause your body to burn an ex­tra 50 calo­ries a day,” says Dr Farrimond. Just don’t make a habit of swap­ping your evening run for a plate of jal­frezi.


A study by Pur­due Uni­ver­sity found that adding chilli pow­der to meals re­sulted in a de­creased ap­petite for salty, fatty and sweet foods later in the day – pre­sum­ably not just be­cause your mouth is so numb you’ve lost your sense of taste. Ei­ther way, it will help to swerve the call of the bis­cuit tin come 3pm.


Here’s some great news if you have a pen­chant for pubs and late-night Turk­ish es­tab­lish­ments: cap­saicin not only helps to re­pair liver dam­age but can halt the pro­gres­sion of liver fi­bro­sis, the Euro­pean As­so­ci­a­tion for the Study of the Liver re­ports. Which makes a hearty break­fast of eggs and Tabasco more ad­vis­able than an early-hours ke­bab.


It’s not just you who fears the burn – it seems that the Big C can’t han­dle the heat ei­ther. Cap­saicin causes the ac­ti­va­tion of cell re­cep­tors lin­ing the in­tes­tine, which, in turn, acts to sup­press the de­vel­op­ment of col­orec­tal tu­mours, ac­cord­ing to the Uni of Cal­i­for­nia. Best re­mem­ber that one the next time you’re de­bat­ing your sauce se­lec­tion at Nando’s.

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