Curry fish head, laksa, tomyum… There are so much amazing spicy food in Singapore and sometimes we even add more chili to our food when we are not getting enough kick! However, too much spicy food may give us the runs and that is certainly not we want to happen when we are running. While spicy food may not have the same effects on everyone, depending on the “strength” of our stomachs and our daily diet, the general rule applies to the rest of us — do not eat spicy food before a run and only eat after your run.
Golden Rule: No spicy food before a run or the night before a run
While eating spicy food does not necessarily affect your performance during a race or training, it is the digestive distress caused by the spicy food that may affect your run. Spicy foods can provoke indigestion, heartburn and loose stools in many people, though others can eat them with no problems. For people who have an inclination to visit the washroom after eating spicy food, we recommend that you avoid them at least a night before a run so that you can have a smooth run or race. A lot of what goes into running is learning to listen to your body, so what you can do is test out what you eat and go for a trial run several times. If you can run without any bowel issues after eating spicy food, great for you!
Eat spicy food for recovery
This may come as a surprise to most of us, but spicy food is loaded with nutrients that can help in our recovery. Richly coloured chilies are packed with a range of antioxidants, including vitamin A and vitamin C. These nutrients may aid in recovery and help stave off ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. On the other hand, capsaicin is an active component in chili peppers (or capsicums), which is also found in many muscle rubs. Its nerve-stimulating effect alleviates pain when applied topically, but can also help calm inflamed muscles when ingested.
Other benefits of spicy food
Chilli contains up to seven times the vitamin C level of an orange and has a range of health benefits, including fighting sinus congestion, aiding digestion and helping to relieve migraines and muscle, joint and nerve pain. It’s also a good source of vitamins A and E, beta-carotene, folic acid and potassium.
Capsaicin is also an antioxidant compound that boosts heat production in the body, burning an extra 10 to 50 calories a day. This means that eating spicy food with chili peppers inside can help with your weight loss plans. Other studies have also found that capsaicin can suppress your appetite and help you lose more belly fat.
Stick with what works best for you
It is best to stick with the food that works best for you while you are running. If you have craving for spicy food, and any other food that may induce a tummy upset, let the food be a rewarding treat for you after your run!