The Irritating Connection Between Spicy Food and Runny Noses

Simon Whistler, host of “Today I Found Out” explains the irritating chemistry that connects spicy foods with running noses.

Capsaicin is chemical found in fruits of the genus Capsicum, which includes peppers. …Allyl isothiocyanate, on the other hand, is a colorless oil that can be found in things like mustard, radishes, and wasabi. …These chemicals end up not only causing a “hot” sensation on your tongue, but also irritate the mucous membranes in your nose, causing them to become inflamed. This triggers those membranes to produce extra amounts of mucous as a defense mechanism to try to keep out whatever unwanted substance or particles are causing the irritation.