Ever wonder why you sneeze after you eat? Well, you’re not alone. It’s a phenomenon that has baffled people for centuries. But the answer is actually quite simple. Here’s a quick overview of why sneezing after eating is a thing.
Sneezing After Eating Is Common
Sneezing after eating is actually more common than you might think. In fact, it’s so common that there’s a name for it: the gustatory reflex. The gustatory reflex is the medical term for the reflexive act of sneezing after eating certain foods. It occurs when certain substances irritate the nose and throat.
There are two types of gustatory reflexes: those that are mediated by nerves and those that are mediated by hormones. In most cases, the sneezing reflex is mediated by nerves. However, in some cases, it can be mediated by hormones. Hormone-mediated gustatory reflexes usually occur in people who have allergies or sensitivities to certain foods.
The most common triggers of nerve-mediated gustatory reflexes are spicy foods and strong smells. However, they can also be caused by other irritating substances, such as cigarette smoke or perfumes. Hormone-mediated gustatory reflexes, on the other hand, can be triggered by any number of things, including certain drugs, alcohol, and even stress.
There are also few theories out there about why you sneeze after eating, and what you can do to prevent it.
Theory #1: Allergy-related sneezing
If you have allergies, it’s possible that your sneezing after meals is related. When you eat, your body produces histamine—a chemical that helps to protect your stomach from harmful bacteria. For people with allergies, histamine can trigger an immune response, resulting in symptoms like sneezing and watery eyes. If you think your sneezing after eating is due to allergies, talk to your doctor about possible treatment options.
Theory #2: Spicy food-related sneezing
Another theory is that spicy foods may trigger the Schnitzel reflex. This is because spicy foods can irritate the lining of your nose, causing you to sneeze. If you find that your sneezing is worse after eating spicy foods, try avoiding them or cut back on the amount of spice you’re consuming.
Theory #3: Temperature changes-related sneezing
Have you ever noticed that you’re more likely to sneeze when you go from a warm environment to a cold one? Or when you step out into the cold air from a stuffy room? This theory posits that the same thing happens when you eat—the act of eating warms up your body, and Sneezing after a meal may be your body’s way of cooling down again.
So there you have it! Now you know why you sneeze after eating. Next time you have a sudden onset of sneezes after chowing down on your favorite spicy dish, you’ll know exactly what’s causing it. And if you’re ever at a loss for words when someone asks you why you’re sneezing, now you have the perfect answer: because of the gustatory reflex!