Why People Look For More Spiciness in Every Meal

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Do you like spicy food? Have you ever asked anyone why they eat or cannot eat zingy food? Let's look at some possible answers!

First let us categorize people into two general groups: 

  1. The Spice Haters - Cannot eat spicy food because it hurts their taste buds or they get uncomfortable at the table, causing them to not eat well.

  2. The Spice Lovers - Likes hot dishes and will add pepper or chili sauce to what they eat. Or they might ask for a chili pepper if the food served has no spiciness. 


(Photo credit: Pixabay


Which group are you under? Or are you like me who transitioned from # 1 to # 2?  Haven't heard of anyone transitioning from # 2 to # 1 though, unless maybe it's to avoid any medical condition. :D

Why do we even eat strong flavored dishes at all? Let's find out!




♦  Craving vs Hating Spicy Food  ♦

(Video credit: SciShow via YouTube)


The only reason we'd hate spiciness is if we have low tolerance to pain and if we're not used to eating such. Worst case would be if we have a medical condition that prevents us from appreciating "hot" food.


Here's a few reasons why we would crave spicy food:

1. Overheated body - If our body is too hot we need to cool off, we'll grab some chili! After all, it's the best way to cool our bodies after we sweat. People in warm climates like India, Mexico or the Philippines tend to eat chili more than those living in cold climates. Or maybe someone has a medical condition, aside from the regular flu or fever.

2. We have colds, blocked sinuses or allergies that cause congestion - Craving for spicy food may be your body's way to decongest. 

3. Metabolism problem, like Hyperthyroidism or maybe your body just wants you to go on a diet - Studies have shown that when our metabolism is fast, we lose weight. It kicks up our metabolism so if you're craving for some kimchi, you know it's good for you.

(Photo credit: Pixabay)


4. We're feeling down. -  We all know endorphins make us happy, so maybe when we're sad our body would crave for zestiness in any meal just to brighten our day.

5. We suffer from arthritis or have some kind of inflammation in our body. - If you've got some infection going on but don't know it or are in denial, perhaps that chili craving is a warning sign. Maybe it's time to see a doctor if you crave spiciness more than usual.  Or your body might be looking for some pain relief courtesy of that chili pepper.

6. Bored and/or looking for something thrilling. - If you like riding rollercoasters,  doing extreme sports and such, I bet you like some heat in your viands. Some people are just natural thrill-seekers or maybe you can blame it on high testosterone levels that leads one to add pungent spices before eating.




♦♦     What Spicy Meals Do to Our Bodies     ♦♦

(Gif animation credit: giphy)


1. Temperature regulation. - When we sweat during or after eating, our temperature will go down enough to cool us off. Or if it's cold outside, it can make us feel hot temporarily.

2. Increases our pain tolerance. - Tolerance to spiciness can be built slowly but surely. If it happened to me, it could happen to you too. Or maybe we're just masochistic. Haha.

3. Helps us lose weight. - The major ingredient of chili peppers is called capsaicin which is known to kick up your metabolism and dampen your appetite. Once your metabolism increases and you eat less, you're probably off to losing the extra weight soon. Or if you've never gone fat before then perhaps it's because of all the chili peppers you've eaten.


(Photo credit: Pixabay)


4. Makes us happier. - Our brain releases endorphins after being subjected to the fight or flight response caused by eating zesty viands Chowing down on some peppery meal when we're feeling down can be a way to uplift our moods. 

5. Keeps infections at bay. - Our nose is one of the best defense system we have against sicknesses. Chili would definitely make our nose produce more mucus while eating. I'm sure you've experienced this more than once in your life. It may not be pretty when it happens but it's still good for temporary decongestion and flushing out potential harmful stuff like dust and bacteria.

Eating such also helps us deal more with pain, inflammation or bacterias because of capsaisin's  health benefits: anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial plus pain relief




♦♦♦     Is Eating Spicy Food Good for Us?     ♦♦♦

(Gif animation credit: giphy)


Studies have been done that show several pros and cons of eating zingy meals.



• Weight loss
• Boosts immune system
• Improves your mood
• Increases life span due to improved blood flow or circulation which slows down aging too



• Spicy in, spicy out might be something you'd experience
• Temporary and short-term damage to your taste buds
• Blood thinning if you're on medication
• Stomach problem


Does the good outweigh the bad? I'd like to think so.
Anyway, let's find out more about the science of spiciness. Watch this vid!

(Video credit: TED-Ed via YouTube)




♦♦♦♦     Bottomline: Desensitization / Tolerance to Spiciness     ♦♦♦♦

I used to wonder why people eat chili peppers. When I was younger I didn't like anything with black or chili pepper because, well maybe I was imitating my brother who hated spicy anything. These past three years though, I've developed a penchant to spicy food because of, guess what? KIMCHI!


(Photo credit: Pixabay)


Blame those Korean Dramas I kept watching. Lol. And oh let's not forget the Japanese food called California Maki. I got a taste of it in Baguio in my late teens and it was oh so heavenly that I've been eating it eversince, even with wasabi!


Question: Why do we look for spicy or even spicier food from time to time? 

Answer: We have gotten used to the spiciness, making us feel like something is missing if we don't add any chili flavor in what we eat.

I didn't even notice I got used to eating something spicy that pretty soon I kept buying Kimchi almost every month. If I don't have any or I've eaten all the kimchi, I tend to look for something hot to add to my meal. Imagine, I now crush and use those whole black peppers whenever I'm cooking! Whoa! Oddly enough when I eat out I don't really add any spiciness to what I eat at all. Hmmm. I guess it really depends on our level of tolerance, need and/or preferences.

(Photo credit: Pixabay)


Only when I got to a desensitized level did I understand why people add chili or eat chili with their meal. Lol. And because of this realization I just had to write this blog after I researched the reasons why we prefer to eat more hot food upon exposure to it.

So how about you? Do you prefer adding some chili during meals everyday or just occasionally?


(Gif animation credit via giphy)



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