Don't Believe This Spicy Food Myth

Whether you like spicy foods or not, adding a bit of kick to your diet does come with some impressive health benefits. For example, eating spicy foods can help boost your metabolism and promote weight loss, thanks to capsaicin, which is found in chili peppers. "Capsaicin may help boost your metabolism, which can help you burn more calories both at rest and during exercise — meaning you might be able to lose weight more easily," Penn Medicine's Dr. Jeffrey Millstein explained.

If that wasn't enough, that same compound found in chili peppers may also help with relieving pain from arthritis or injuries, especially when used as a topical cream. "Over time, the nerves in your hands and feet will grow accustomed to the lotion and will have a lower ability to process pain," Dr. Millstein continued.

Despite their health benefits, spicy foods tend to come with a bed rep due to some false myths — from killing your taste buds to inducing labor in pregnant people. One myth in particular is so popular that we had to debunk it.

No, eating spicy food won't give you an ulcer

You've probably heard of this myth before: eating lots of spicy food will cause stomach ulcers. Well, the good news is that's simply not true. Helicobacter pylori is the main bacteria responsible for causing ulcers, and can be transmitted from one person to another by close contact (such as kissing), contracted from contaminated food and water, or by taking too much aspirin (via Mayo Clinic). Eating spicy food can, however, exacerbate some pre-existing stomach issues, which explains why so many people tend to believe it causes ulcers.

As it turns out, capsaicin (found in chili peppers) can actually help keep your gut healthy. "When capsaicin enters your digestive tract and attaches to the receptor, it creates a chemical called anandamide," Penn Medicine explains. "Anandamide has been shown to lead to less inflammation in the gut, which can be caused by conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease." So go ahead and eat all the hot peppers your heart desires, your stomach might actually thank you.