Saturday, 2 June 2018

Eating spicy food cools you down better than ice cream

Is the blistering heat getting you all hot and bothered? Order up some fiery buldak (spicy Korean chicken), hunt down the spiciest chilli crab you can find, or tick the volcano-hot option on the mala hotpot order chit.

Image for illustration only

No, our brains have not been fried by the sun. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, bringing the heat to your mouth is actually a way to cool down.

When you drink an ice-cold beverage or eat ice cream, the hypothalamus (built-in thermostat in the brain) senses a drastic drop in your internal temperature. And because its job is to maintain things at 36.5 degrees Celsius, it cranks up your body temperature, causing you to feel warmer.

Eating spicy food does the opposite. Receptors in your mouth interprets the capsaicin component in chilli as a chemical action that creates a "hot" burning sensation, that causes the hypothalamus to counter the perceived temperature rise by increasing blood circulation and making the body sweat, hence cooling the body.

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My 2 cents:
You may want to know that if you eat spicy food and got your tongue burnt, it is best to drink hot water. The hot water will counteract the spicy sensation and after a short while, your burning sensation will be gone.

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