Mar 07

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What causes runny nose when eating?

What causes runny nose when eating?


Can you please explain what is the reason for my running nose whenever I eat anything spicy? It is very embarrassing when I go out to lunch or dinner with others. Is there a remedy to avoid running nose when eating? Is this some kind of allergy? Do you think I might end up taking yet another pill for a runny nose when eating? During my next visit, I will probably bring up with my doctor that my nose is running like a faucet when I eat. Just wondering if you could write a short health article on why does nose run when eating.


Many, for that matter, most of us have the issue of a runny nose when eating, whether the food be spicy or not. But for some, the runny nose while eating is more prominent than others. For some unfortunate people the body reflexes quickly and more in terms of quantity than others. Do not worry too much about this. You might not have any serious issues with your health, if this is the only issue you have.


What causes a runny nose whenever I eat spicy food?

Remember those days of the year when you have a stuffy nose because of bad cold and your sinuses appeared to be completely blocked? WRunny nose Rexhat did you want to eat? You wanted that spicy chicken noodles soup… didn’t you? ☺ You know why? Because, your subconscious knew you needed something to clear your sinuses up.

“Holy smokes … what? No. I just wanted to have soup. I didn’t really do it, because soup would clear up my sinuses!” Correct you didn’t. But, your brain knew it because may be when you were a kid, you heard that ‘soups clear stuffy noses’ a few times from somebody and it stored that info in your subconscious. (Kinda similar to that muscle memory isn’t it?)

Do, you know what is there in that spicy soup? Pepper. The spiciness to the food comes from pepper (I’m pretty sure you knew that). Pepper is exactly what causes your runny nose. If you want the chemical that causes a runny nose while eating, it is capsaicin that is present in pepper. Read more about chemical composition here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsaicin)

Want to know how capsaicin makes a runny nose out of spicy food?

Remember how venom (snakes, tarantulas) acts? The venom binds to certain receptors and blocks the receptive power of the neurons and in turn paralyzing parts of the body of the victim. Capsaicin or spicy food acts very similar. It binds to a receptor called vanilloid receptor. Then the capsaicin molecule creates a sensation that you would get/feel when you are subject to extreme heat. This tricks your body into thinking that something you ate is probably burning you.

The Capsaicin molecules are carried around into the air surrounding the dish you are eating or about to lunge into. When you breathe, they go into your nostrils, or when you eat, they get to the back of your throat. Capsaicin molecules bind to the nerves of the sinuses and excite the nerve endings. When these neurons talk with the brain, it is almost like a siren call to your brain. It’s like your neurons are complaining to the brain that there are foreign particles in the nose and they are burning you. Your brain, then attends to the needs by creating watery mucus and making it so thin that it flows down your nostrils in an attempt to flush the particles out. This is the reason why you get a runny nose while eating spicy food. If even the runny nose doesn’t fix the problem created by spicy food, the brain then causes an even effective reaction… wanna take any guesses? Yep, you sneeze. Kicking the spice agents out of your nostrils.

Believe it or not, the person sitting next to you, or the person sitting on the other side of the table, most probably has the same issue.
Most people somehow develop the knack to seem unaffected by it. They develop such natural reflexes to clean the runny nose either with a napkin or their cuffs (yep, I know). The thing is they already knew about their runny nose while eating and somehow took measures to appear clean and unaffected by it by wiping off the nose every now and then. They have done it so often their sub conscious does it for them now. (Remember that muscle memory article? That’s how they do it.)

Hopefully, this answers your question and helps many others.
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