Tips & Tricks To Eating Spicy Foods
Eating spicy foods is certainly an experience. Not only do you get a mouth full of unique flavor, but can also get hit with a serious burning sensation! If you're struggling to handle the heat when you eat spicy foods, or you simply want some tricks to easing the fire in your mouth, check out our list of tips to master the art of eating all things Hot. Hot. Hot!
If you've never really been keen on spicy foods, but want to start eating them—start small! Begin by addling a little black pepper to your mac and cheese or sprinkling crushed red pepper flakes on your pizza, then you can work up to the spicier additions like fresh jalapeños or Schultz's Spicy Original Cooking Sauce! Serious Eats explains that Seema Vora, an Integrative Health Practitioner in NYC, recommends a spicy diet to her clients due to a variety of health reasons (stimulating metabolic rate, lowering blood pressure, etc), and recommends starting out by using ketchup spiked with a couple drops of a mild hot sauce.
The more capsaicin (the compound in spicy foods that makes your mouth burn!) you’ve ingested, the stronger your body’s reaction will be. Eating slowly keeps a steady but tolerable amount in your body.
Drink Something Cold
We're talking ice-cold. Icy cold beverages can help numb the nerves in your mouth so they're less likely to be activated by spicy foods. Your body will still react but you likely won't experience that super intense and immediate burn from eating spicy foods. It's important to remember capsaicin is NOT water soluble, meaning when your mouth is on fire and you reach for that glass of H20, it won't do you any good! Instead opt for a glass of milk. The fat content within your glass of milk will help break down the capsaicin enough that it can't bind to those pain receptors!
Build Your Tolerance
Unless you grew up eating spicy dishes you probably don’t have the tolerance to handle foods with a lot of hot spice. Learning how to handle the heat can take a bit of time and determination. Slowly start increasing the amount of hot foods you eat, and grow the level of spice overtime. Gradually, you will build a tolerance for hotter foods and even start appreciating the burn!
Eat Different Textures
Foods like bread, rice and even crackers can give the receptors in your mouth a different kind of signal to focus on, which can help interrupt that intense heat you feel when you eat spicy foods. Similar to milk, starchy food can help absorb some of the capsaicin making the heat more mild and last for a shorter period of time.
Don't Force It
Not everyone's stomach can handle spicy foods. If you repeatedly experience pain after incorporating spiciness into your diet, then stop. It's not for you.
Remember It Won't Last Forever
Spicy foods really only effect our bodies for about 15-20 minutes after you stop eating. If you eat too much of something spicy, just grit your teeth, drink some milk, and know that heat doesn't last forever!