Health Tips
Stay healthy by reading wellness advice from our top specialists.

It’s standard for spicy food to cause your upper lip to sweat, your nose to run, and your mouth to feel like it’s on fire. But can eating hot peppers mess with your health post-meal? The question is worth considering, especially as the ALS Pepper Challenge (AKA the Ice Bucket Challenge 2.0) gains popularity.

Dangers of eating hot peppers
“If vomiting occurs, the acid that comes up from the stomach can irritate the esophagus,” explains Bazilian. Depending how hot a pepper is, that irritation can cause serious damage. Back in October 2016, one man actually burned a hole in his esophagus after consuming (and subsequently retching) ghost peppers during an eating contest. Other potential reactions to eating super-spicy peppers include numbness and breathing difficulties.

Health benefits of hot peppers
To complicate things, eating hot peppers can also deliver health benefits. Research suggests that certain capsaicin-rich ingredients, like cayenne pepper, can help eaters slim down by curbing appetite and revving the body’s calorie-burning abilities. What’s more, cayenne has also been shown to help clear sinuses, ease pain, and curb the growth of some bacteria.

To reap the benefits of hot peppers, choose varieties that aren’t too high on the Scoville scale and consume them in tasty meals, rather than straight up. “This way the impact on the tongue, esophagus, and stomach is less, too,” says Bazilian.

When it comes to healthy eating, myths and misconceptions abound. It doesn’t help that new — and often contradictory — diet advice emerges every day. But the basics of eating right really don’t change.

1. Load your plate with vegetables.
To build a healthy plate, fill half your plate with vegetables — and, no, French fries don’t count! Choose “crunchy” vegetables, such as broccoli, green beans, Brussels sprouts, and leafy greens like kale and Swiss chard.

2. Eat a balanced breakfast.
You’ve heard it before, and it’s true: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating a healthy breakfast is absolutely crucial to help kickstart metabolism, improve cognitive function, and help you make better food choices throughout the day.

1) Hot Sauce.
It can live happily in the pantry for up to three years

2) Potatoes.
Refrigeration adversely affects their flavor, so store in the pantry in paper bags (plastic bags trap moisture and speed decay). Most varieties should last three weeks.

3) Bread.
The refrigerator dries it out fast. Instead, keep what you’ll eat within four days at room temperature and freeze the rest.

4) Onions.
They like their original mesh bag (or any bag that allows for air circulation) in the pantry. But keep them away from potatoes, which emit moisture and gases that can cause onions to rot.

5) Garlic.
It will do well for two months in the pantry. Store loose, so air can move around it.

6) Tomatoes.
They can get mealy in the fridge, so leave them on a counter, out of plastic bags. To speed up ripening, store in a paper bag. Once ripe, they’ll last for about three days.

7) Coffee.
The fridge (and the freezer) create condensation, which can affect the flavor of both ground coffee and coffee beans. Coffee fares best in an airtight container in the pantry.

8) Winter Squashes.
Varieties such as corn, butternut, delicata, and spaghetti will last for about a month or more in the pantry.

For muscle-gains or losing body fat for building lean muscle mass, you have innumerable options when it comes to choosing foods and supplements.

- Eggs: Egg whites are an essential part of diet for every successful bodybuilder. One of the best sources of protein, eggs have fat ratio of 60:1 that contributes considerably to muscle-building. It is touted as the super-food for bodybuilders because it is readily utilised by body for protein synthesis.

- Beans/Legumes: Veggies such as beans & legumes are not just delicious but nutritious. It gives you protein and fibre to help maintain regular & normal healthy bowel movement besides insulin response (important to muscle growth as both functions aid in absorption).

- Lean chicken/Turkey breasts: An excellent source of protein & low in saturated trans fats, lean cut chicken and turkey breasts are one of the best foods for #bodybuilding. These can be incorporated easily in multiple meals throughout the day.

- Carbohydrates: They are body's main source of energy, & critical to mass building. It keeps your body on course of muscle building by maintaining insulin response. Starchy carbohydrate sources (such as oatmeal, grits, potatoes and brown rice), fibrous carbohydrate (such as green beans, broccoli, lettuce and spinach) & simple carbohydrates (such as apples, bananas, grapes, oranges and pineapple) should be incorporated in bodybuilding diet.

- Fish: An excellent source of essential fatty acids such as omega-3, which has a major contribution in muscle-building process.

- Lean red meat/Lean ground beef: Rich in protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B, lean red meat and ground beef make an excellent mass-building food option. These are high level of saturated fats; make sure you do not consume these on an everyday basis.

- Bananas: They are a fast and easy way to get a good dose of carbohydrate, potassium & sugar to help refuel glycogen stores and to ultimately increase muscle hypertrophy.

If you are confused about what to eat and what not to eat because your diet has a direct effect on cholesterol, here is a rundown:

- Fat
If you have high cholesterol, you should cut down on saturated fat found in fatty meats and whole milk dairies products like cheese, ice cream, and butter. Also avoid Canola Oil & Other Processed Vegetable Oils, Potato Chips & Other Packaged Foods, Cookies & Other Sugary Treats and Dark Chocolate.

However, there are a number of foods with healthy unsaturated fats that will actually improve your cholesterol. They include fatty fish like tuna and salmon, walnuts, and almonds. But, eat them in moderation as they are high in calories.

- Calories
The importance of counting your calories is often overlooked by people with high cholesterol. No matter how much or how little fat or cholesterol is in a food, its calories still add up. Eating too much of it can lead to weight gain, and that increases your risk of high cholesterol.

- High Cholesterol Foods
Experts have long urged people with high cholesterol to avoid foods loaded with #cholesterol, like egg yolks, shrimp, and organ meats. Also, don't assume that a food labelled "cholesterol-free" is necessarily good for you.

Additionally, Oatmeal, oat bran and high-fiber foods are best foods to control your cholesterol. Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which reduces your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the "bad" cholesterol. Soluble fiber is also found in such foods as kidney beans, apples, pears, barley and prunes. Soluble fiber can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream.

Dr. Pallavi U Bhurse
Dr. Pallavi U Bhurse
BAMS, Ayurveda Family Physician, 5 yrs, Pune
Dr. Shubham Hukkeri
Dr. Shubham Hukkeri
BPTh, 1 yrs, Mumbai City
Dr. Hemant Damle
Dr. Hemant Damle
MD - Allopathy, Gynaecologist Obstetrics and Gynecologist, 25 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sapna Mahajan
Dr. Sapna Mahajan
BAMS, Ayurveda, 9 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sayali Khare - Pendse
Dr. Sayali Khare - Pendse
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ayurveda Panchakarma, 3 yrs, Pune