Spicy Food

Training Your Tongue to Love Spicy Food Benefits More Than Your Taste Buds

People have long wondered why this one plant developed such picante power. As one theory goes, chili peppers—which are native to the Americas—evolved to contain capsaicin to ward off hungry mammals, which had teeth that would grind up their seeds. Birds, on the other hand, are immune to the spicy substance, and leave the seeds intact and help disperse them.

But Spicy Food another evolutionary theory argues that neither birds nor rodents are responsible for chilies’ spice: Instead, it may have been insects. Bugs like cicadas and aphids are sensitive to capsaicin the same way we are. In humid, tropical climates, these insects feed on wild chilies. When they puncture the fruit, they introduce moisture and the risk of fungal rot. While doing research in Bolivia in 2001, biologist Joshua Tewksbury found a correlation between a high incidence of puncture marks on chilies with lower levels of capsaicin. He also observed that there are more naturally occurring hot chilies in tropical climates. So maybe the fruit evolved to be spicy to ward away the insects, and in turn, the fungus.

This theory may also help explain why humans started eating such a potent food in the first place. Here’s Walton:

What attracted early Americans to the spicier plants was their observation that the hotter varieties contained less or no fungus. In other words, they came with their very own built-in food preserver. Long before temperature-controlled food preservation was possible, the spicy chili’s antimicrobial properties helped to preserve not just the pepper itself, but any food mixed with it.

Spicy Foods

Vinegar-based hot sauces and chili pastes are some the the most popular spicy ingredients in Blue Apron dinners.
  • Harissa. A North African hot sauce made with garlic and oil–and hot red peppers, of course.
  • Red chili paste. …
  • Sriracha. …
  • Tabasco. …
  • Dried Thai Chilies. …
  • Jalapeño. …
  • Peppercorns. …
  • Red Chili Flakes.

To this day, eating chili peppers does more than just scorch our mouths. When capsaicin “fools the brain into thinking that the soft tissue is being burned, it activates the pain receptors,” explains Walton. That in turn triggers your body to release endorphins, the body’s natural pain-killing compounds, which can help boost your sense of well-being. The substance has also been studied for its potential to make people feel full faster, and some researchers think it holds promise in the fight against obesity. One major survey of nearly half a million people in China between 2004 and 2008 showed that eating spicy food every day was associated with a lower risk of death. Of course, many of the health claims about chilies, as with any food, are speculative and have to be taken “with a pinch of salt,” Walton notes.

My Blog
Enable registration in settings - general
Compare items
  • Total (0)