Does Spicy Food Really Help With a Cough?

According to a new study, the answer may be yes. Researchers found that a compound in chili peppers may help to ease a cough.

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While there are many benefits to eating spicy foods, one of the most commonly cited is that they help to clear a person’s sinuses and relieve congestion. Does this home remedy actually work, or is it just an old wives’ tale?

It turns out that there may be some truth to the claim that spicy foods can help to ease congestion. Capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their heat, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. This means that it can help to reduce swelling in the nasal passages and make it easier to breathe.

If you’re struggling with a cold or sinus infection, adding some spice to your meals may help you to feel better. Just be sure not to go overboard – eating too much spicy food can irritate your throat and make your symptoms worse.

The science behind the claim

There is some scientific evidence to support the idea that spicy food can help with a cough. One study found that capsaicin, the compound that makes chili peppers hot, can help to suppress coughs. Capsaicin works byliterally numbing the nerves that send cough signals to the brain.

Other studies have found that ginger can also be effective in treating a cough. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and can help to soothe the throat. It also helps to break up mucus and make it easier to expel.

So, if you’re looking for a natural way to treat your cough, reach for some ginger or chili peppers the next time you’re feeling under the weather.

Does it work for everyone?

While there is some evidence that capsaicin—the compound that gives chili peppers their heat—can help ease a cough, not everyone responds the same way to spicy foods. Some people find that their cough gets worse when they eat spicy dishes, while others find that it has no effect either way. If you’re not sure how your body will react, it’s best to start with a milder dish and see how you feel before moving on to something spicier.

Are there any risks?

While there are no known risks to consuming spicy foods when you have a cough, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, if your cough is due to an underlying medical condition, such as GERD or asthma, spicy foods may aggravate your symptoms. Secondly, if you are using medication to treat your cough, such as a cough suppressant, the spiciness of the food may diminish the effectiveness of the medication.

How to incorporate spicy food into your diet

Spicy foods get their heat from a “hot” ingredient called capsaicin. When you eat something spicy, capsaicin binds to a receptor in your mouth called the vanilloid receptor subtype 1 (TRPV1). This triggers a chain reaction that sets off your nerve cells, which send a message to your brain saying, “Hey, this feels hot!” In response, your brain releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers. That’s why you might feel a sense of euphoria after eating something particularly spicy — it’s similar to the feeling you get from running a marathon or working out hard.

Capsaicin also has anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it’s often used in topical creams and ointments for pain relief. When you eat capsaicinoids, they change the way your body temperature is regulated and can cause you to sweat. This release of sweat can help to cool your body down and may also help clear congestion by thinning mucus.

The benefits of spicy food

It’s a common home remedies to eat spicy food when you have a cold or the flu, but does it really work? While there is no cure for the common cold, some research suggests that eating spicy food can help clear congestion and ease coughing.

One study found that capsaicin, the compound that makes chili peppers hot, can help relieve congestion by thinning mucus. Capsaicin is also thought to have anti-inflammatory properties and may help ease coughing by soothing irritation in the throat.

If you’re interested in trying this home remedy, start with a small amount of spice and gradually increase the amount until you find a level that is comfortable for you. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids and get rest – these are still the best ways to help your body recover from a cold or the flu.

The drawbacks of spicy food

When you have a cough, the last thing you want to do is make it worse. But that’s exactly what can happen if you reach for certain foods that are common cough triggers. Spicy food is one of them.

Yes, that hot sauce or curry dish may help clear your sinuses temporarily. But it can also cause heartburn and indigestion, which can make your cough worse. So if you have a hacking cough, it’s best to avoid spicy foods until it passes.

How to balance the risks and benefits of spicy food

Theoretically, yes. Spicy food may help improve symptoms by thinning mucus, which makes it easier to cough up. It also has antibacterial properties that can help kill the virus causing the infection. However, spicy food may also irritate the throat, making symptoms worse. In addition, capsaicin, the compound that makes peppers hot, can trigger heartburn and indigestion. So, if you have GERD or another digestive disorder, you may want to avoid spicy foods.

The bottom line is that while spicy food may offer some benefits for people with a cough, it’s not a cure-all. If you decide to give it a try, start with a small amount of spice and see how you tolerate it. You can always add more if needed. And be sure to drink plenty of fluids to keep your throat moist.


The bottom line is that there isn’t much scientific evidence to support the claim that spicy food can help relieve a cough. However, some people may find that it helps them feel better. If you want to try it, add a small amount of spice to your food and see how you react. If you don’t like the way it feels, you can always add more or try a different remedy.


When it comes to treating a cough, there are many different remedies out there. Some people swear by drinking lots of fluids, while others prefer to take over-the-counter medications. And then there are those who turn to spicy food as a way to help relieve their symptoms.

But does spicy food really help with a cough?

There is some evidence that capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their heat, can help to temporarily relieve coughing. A study published in the journalChestfound that capsaicin was effective in reducing the number of coughs in people with bronchitis.

Capsaicin works by irritation the lungs, which triggers a reflex that helps to clear mucus and loosen phlegm. This can make it easier to cough up congestion and may also help to reduce inflammation in the airways.

If you’re interested in trying this natural remedy, there are a few ways you can incorporate capsaicin into your diet. Add a few slices of fresh chili pepper to your soup or stir-fry, or sprinkle some crushed red pepper flakes on your eggs or pasta dish. You can also findcapsaicin supplements at most health food stores. Just be sure to start with a small dose and increase gradually, as too much capsaicin can cause stomach upset.

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