The doctors also saw a lot of patients with gastritis complications. “This, I believe, has to do with the chili consumption,” said a general medicine specialist, Dr Joshua Seymour.Now since I'm an ema addict, the moment I finished reading that sentence, I started having this weird feeling in my stomach. I had no idea what gastritis is, although by the name I suspected it is something one prefers not to be diagnosed with! Anyway, by the time I finished reading the article, I was already sure I had gastritis, whatever it is. It is sure going to be hard to abstain from all these delicious chili-chops...!
A few moments later, I regained my conciousness and decided to do some online research. I googled "gastritis", and checked a few of the more reliable medical-information websites - Mayo Clinic, The U.S. National Institutes of Health, WebMD - for information. So first, what's gastriris? It's an inflammation of the lining of the stomach, which causes a variety of symptoms, the most common of which are abdominal pain, indigestion, nausea and vomiting. Indeed, not very pleasant.
Next, I checked to see what the experts are saying about the causes of gastritis. Good news: I couldn't find any mention of chilis, or any other spicy food, as the main cause of gastritis in any of the aforementioned websites. Most experts agree that the most common causes of gastritis are:
- Infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria
- Medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen
So while spicy food can definitely irritate the stomach, my non-educated guess - given the above list of common causes - is that chilis are not the number one factor in the disease's prevalence in Zhemgang. In fact, research shows that chilis can actually protect the stomach lining (here's one such paper)!
Thus, until proven otherwise, I'm back to my chili-chops.