Since childhood, a common statement, that is almost rhythmic in my head is having natural home made food, processed foods are not healthy. But isn’t it logical that natural foods must give us the feel good factor after every consumption? Then why is it that consuming certain such foods I feel just the opposite? I mean, we are all the same, but have you ever wondered why one cries while chopping onions, or why does the tongue burn when you eat a chilli? It’s time we find the truth behind these truths.

I. Onions – The Tear Catalyst


There is an age old folk tale in the Indian culture which says that the onion was blessed by a sage with the ability to make the one who kills it to cry. Well, that story can be used to give an interesting time for kids who wonder why, but the fact is far from that. Every time you cut the onion, it releases powerful sulphur compounds that make a move directly towards the eyes and nose. These are gaseous compounds that react with the moisture produced by your tear gland to form sulphuric acid. Sulphuric acid as we all know is one of the most powerful acids. As a result, the presence of this acid makes your eye burn and release tears in large quantity to wash the irritant away.

 Ways to avoid the tears from falling

Washing, soaking or refrigerating the onions for a while before cutting it would slows down the reaction process  


II. Why does chilli burn?


Capsaicinoids… no these are not some weird chemical from the lab!! These are essentially the primary compound present in chillies of all varieties. The more the amount of capsaicinoids, the spicier is the chilli. The burning sensation occurs when this compound comes in contact with the skin or the mucous membrane in the mouth or throat. When this happens, the pain receptors in these areas get activated and in turn, the brain receives a warning signal. To cool of the heat produced, the brain immediately activates the sweat glands which releases sweat so as to steam down the fire you feel in the affected areas.

 Ways to avoid the burning sensation

The spicy factor in chillies is mainly stored in the seeds. De-seeding the chilli before use will ensure less burning sensation. One could also have cold milk or sugar to reduce the sensation


III. Why does asparagus make your pee smell?


Asparagus is one of the most exotic vegetables known to man and is packed with nutrients and antioxidants extremely beneficial for health. But many people try and avoid consumption of this vegetable because it tends to add an extremely undesirable smell to urine. This is due to a compound called asparagusic acid, which is just present in asparagus and is not found in any other related vegetables. It is believed that when we eat asparagus, this compound break down into many smaller compounds, each being a derivative of methane. Now, methane as we all know is smelly which is why when urine is passed, a strange smell is emitted.

 Ways to avoid the embarrassment

There is absolutely no need to eel weird if the pee smells after eating asparagus. After all, the asparagus is a rich reservoir of folic acid, vitamin B, and roughage.


IV. Why does coffee wake you up?


Every time you have your cup of hot coffee or a glass of refreshing cold coffee, you pump into your system a magic ingredient called caffeine. The chemical effects of caffeine include inducing a biochemical change in the brain. This effect forces the brain to block the release of a chemical called adenosine that induces sleep. With the introduction of caffeine in the system, the receptors absorb it instead of adenosine. As a result, you feel awake and energized instead of sleepy.

 Ways to avoid the after effects

Having coffee is like a necessary evil for many, especially die hard fans. It’s like a magic elixir that speeds up the body systems and one may unknowingly get too used to it. As such, there is no foolproof way to avoid the chemical transitions taking place in the brain every time you gulp down your coffee. The best you can do is to restrict the amount of coffee you drink. Remember, work is important, but so is sleep. Depriving the body of sleep, you only make it hard to function at its optimum level.


V. Why must tea not be steeped for long?


Like coffee, tea is one of the most commonly consumed beverages in the world. It is known to possess innumerable health benefit, if consumed properly. What do I mean when I say properly? Tea is prepared when the leaves are steeped in hot water. But, if the leaves are left in the hot water for too long, they start releasing tannins, which not only impart a bitter taste to the tea but are also responsible for causing digestive disorders.

 Ways to avoid the after effects

Always add the tea leaves to a container having hot water. Avoid boiling the water after adding the leaves. Close the container and let the tea leaves steep in it for a few mins. Consume once the leaves release their colour.


VI. Drinking too much water can kill you


Yes it can. Surprised? The process is called water intoxication. It occurs when a person drinks too much water resulting in dilution of nutrients which in turn restricts its ability to perform the functions it is supposed to perform in the body. Too much water in the body causes an imbalance in the electrolyte levels and this has a direct effect on the sodium levels. Poor sodium balance causes a condition called hyponatremia which results in nausea, altered mental state, vomiting, weakness and convulsions. In severe cases, a person may suffer coma or even death due to swelling in the brain. Such occurrences are, however, rare. It is probably for this exact reason that athletes are advised to have energy drinks instead of water during various events

 Ways to avoid the after effects

Well, it’s quite simple. As they say, too much of anything is bad. So have water, but within the limits. Ideally, 8 glasses of water is what is called ideal but it varies with person, occupation, food habits and season. For e.g. if you are a lover of salads and ensure you have a serving a day, you would probably just need 4-5 glasses of water to maintain a healthy electrolyte balance.