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Why do we get runny nose and watery eyes after having spicy food?

May 19, 2015 16:00 IST

    Q. Why do we get runny nose and watery eyes after having spicy food?

    Ans. Spicy foods contain the chemicals like capsaicin which is a major component of hot peppers and allyl isothiocyanate which is an oil contained in plants like mustard. These chemicals not only cause the burning sensation on our tongues, but also cause inflammation in the mucous membranes inside the nasal cavity. In a defensive mode these membranes are triggered to produce extra amounts of mucous to drain out the irritants. The same chemicals also irritate the membranes in our eyes, which causes the tear ducts to produce tears so as to flush out the irritants.

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