Spicy Foods Avoidance

Spicy Foods Avoidance: Overview

Avoiding spicy foods is not the same as avoiding spices.  For example, there are 'non-spicy' spices in ice cream (vanilla), donuts (cassia or cinnamon), tomato sauce (allspice), cheesecake (nutmeg) and doner kebabs (sumac).  Spices with 'hot' tastes, which are to be avoided for some conditions, include chili, pepper, or horseradish.  It is easy to avoid these and still have wonderfully flavorful food.

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Why it is Recommended

Adverse reactions to spicy foods include:

  • burning mouth
  • runny nose
  • itching
  • watery eyes
  • digestive problems
  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhea
  • rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • high blood pressure
  • sweating
  • flushing
  • increased body temperature

Those suffering from the following medical conditions should avoid spicy foods:

  • Hypertension and cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease.  Capsaicin can cause a dramatic increase in circulating blood volume and rapid heartbeat, which in turn can lead to acute heart failure or sudden cardiac death.  It also hinders recovery from cardiovascular disease.
  • Chronic gastritis, gastric ulcers or esophagitis.  The irritation caused by capsaicin can lead to hyperemia (excess organ blood flow), inflammation, and even erosion of the gastric mucosa.  The contents of the stomach and intestines may move faster, causing abdominal pain and diarrhea.  Digestive function may be impaired.
  • Chronic cholecystitis (gallbladder inflammation) or gallstones.  Spicy foods can irritate an already-inflamed gallbladder, worsening the symptoms of gallbladder inflammation and irritation.
  • Chronic pancreatitis. Many patients with chronic pancreatitis tolerate fatty and spicy foods poorly.
  • Hemorrhoids Although spicy foods do not cause hemorrhoids, they can increase irritation and pain during flare-ups.

On This Page

Spicy Foods Avoidance:

Spicy Foods Avoidance can help with the following:


Oral Lichen Planus

Sensitivity of the mouth to hot or spicy foods can result from lichen planus.  Eliminate spicy or acidic foods if they worsen symptoms.


Gastric/Peptic/Duodenal Ulcers

Avoid spicy foods when you're having pain, or any other food that adds to the pain.

Barrett's Esophagus

Avoid spicy foods or citrus fruits as these can aggravate inflammation in the gullet.


Pharyngitis ("Strep Throat")

Avoid spicy foods or acidic foods such as orange juice.



A 2003 survey by the National Rosacea Society has identified a broad range of hot spicy foods that often trigger or aggravate Rosacea.  In the survey of more than 500 rosacea patients, published in Rosacea Review, 61% of those affected by spicy foods listed hot peppers as a trigger for their rosacea signs and symptoms; 52% listed Mexican-style foods; 47% chili and 46% salsa.


A "moderate" diet is best in coping with psoriasis, without an excess of rich, fatty, starchy or spicy foods, or alcohol.



Spicy foods can raise body temperature, which makes it harder to sleep and reduces the quality of sleep.

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Spicy Foods Avoidance can help prevent the following:

Tumors, Malignant

Stomach Cancer

Researchers at Yale University School of Medicine discovered an increased rate of stomach cancer among those who consumed one or more chili peppers a day, compared to those who did not.

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Moderately useful: often helps with
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often helps with
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