Why Do People Like Spicy Food, Anyway?

Why Do People Like Spicy Food, Anyway?

It burns your mouth, makes you sweat, and can even trigger heartburn … so why do so many people love eating spicy food? There is no definitive answer to this question as it mostly depends on personal preference. Some like their food to be burning hot, others only like a slight tang, and some have very little tolerance for any level of spiciness.

What Does Spicy Food Do to the Body?

The one thing that spicy foods have in common is the presence of capsaicinoids that naturally occur in peppers. They trigger the receptors in your tongue, making them think you are eating something hot.

The brain responds by activating fluid production in your body in an attempt to lower what it believes is the elevated temperature in your mouth. Thus, saliva production goes into overdrive, your eyes tear up, your nose starts to run and you begin to sweat profusely. The spicier the food you eat, the more intense your body’s reaction will be.

Some people also get heartburn after eating a particularly spicy dish. Others experience higher production of gastric juices in the stomach, which might result in a highly uncomfortable feeling when you make a bowel movement.

So, Why Do We Love Spicy Foods?

Given all these effects, you’d wonder why people still love eating spicy foods. There are actually a lot of reasons, starting with the excitement and pleasure that it gives. Yes, spicy foods trigger all those strange reactions in your body, but that’s what makes it so exciting! Eating spicy foods also gives a pleasurable feeling not unlike what you get from rock climbing or bungee jumping. This is because eating peppery foods causes the body to release adrenaline.

There is also the matter of environmental or cultural influence. Some communities, especially those in tropical climates, tend to use a lot of spices when eating. Anyone who grows up in such communities will definitely have a liking for spicy foods.

But no matter what your reason is for liking spicy food, the fact remains that you do. So the next time you happen upon some spicy food festivals in the vicinity, don’t pass up on the chance to give your taste buds a treat!