Spicy food is revered around the world, but that doesn’t mean everyone is used to it. You too can learn to love the spiciness if you make an effort and confront your taste buds with a bit of spice. Spicy food can be hard to get used to at first, but there are so many new dishes and cuisines to try if you give it a go. Also, spicy food is good for you. Studies have shown that spicy foods lower cholesterol, aid weight loss and boost metabolism.
Table of Contents
- 1 Start with spicy foods.
- 2 Eat something spicy every week.
- 3 Always eat hotter.
- 4 Drink milk to soften the heat.
- 5 Drink ice water or something acidic if you don’t have milk.
- 6 Snack something different with food.
- 7 Eat something starchy.
- 8 Breathe through your mouth while you eat.
- 9 Eat something buttery or cheesy to settle your stomach.
- 10 Take an antacid or eat something beforehand if the heat upsets your stomach.
- 11 It will be over soon.
- 12 Tips
Start with spicy foods.
If you dare to try the hottest chilies right away, you will have a hard time.
Start with a little Tabasco on mac and cheese or mix some red pepper flakes into your pasta. You enjoy the food more because you can taste it, but your tongue can get used to the feeling at the same time. Dishes like chicken, mild curry, and gumbo are great if you’re looking to broaden your culinary horizons. Hot mustard is great for adding a bit of zesty flavor to a dish. You can also try spicy Mexican or Indian sweets. If you’re trying new hot sauces, buy the ones that say “mild.” If the Scoville number (the unit of hotness) is listed, buy something around 450 SHU.
Eat something spicy every week.
If you eat spicy food more often, you’ll eventually enjoy it.
When you expose yourself to the spiciness, your tongue gets used to the feel and the flavors of the dishes become more dynamic. If you keep at it, these spicy foods will soon taste like nothing, and slightly spicy foods will taste mild. Start out eating spicy once a week. You will learn to enjoy it. You may also be actively searching for spicy foods in a few months. The chemical that causes heat is called capsaicin. Just as your body becomes accustomed to alcohol and caffeine, it also becomes accustomed to capsaicin.
Always eat hotter.
Move from mild to moderate as you get used to the heat.
Replace tabasco with sriracha and order your meal at the “medium-hot” restaurant. When cooking, dare to use banana peppers and poblanos before cooking with jalapeños and serrano chilies. So you can tolerate sharpness slowly and better. When you’re ready for something really spicy, eat habanero chili, scotch bonnet, or bhut jolokia.
Drink milk to soften the heat.
The fat and protein in milk neutralize the spiciness in the food.
This has been medically proven. Pour yourself a tall glass of milk when eating something very spicy with friends. Take a sip every few bites. The sharpness is then immediately softened. A little sour cream also helps if you’re eating a hot chili or taco. Skimmed milk is as good as whole milk if you want to tone down the heat.
Drink ice water or something acidic if you don’t have milk.
A normal glass of water does not help against the sharpness.
It might even make them worse. The reason is that the water distributes the capsaicin in the mouth. If you must drink water, add ice to at least numb your mouth. Alternatively, you can use something acidic to relieve your pain. Sodas, orange juice, or grape juice work well. Alcohol dissolves the capsaicin, but the reactions have been very mixed. Acidic ingredients can soothe the heat and calm you down. If your tacos are served with lime wedges or your hot pasta comes with optional cilantro, add it.
Snack something different with food.
The texture of another food will distract your mouth from the spiciness.
Between bites of chicken vindaloo or spicy meatballs, eat pretzels, crackers, or croutons. This won’t help against the capsaicin itself, but it will allow your tongue to focus on something else. This can help if the sharpness gets to your head a lot. Something crunchy and sour, like a cherry tomato, can also help. Sweeter foods also help. A lump of sugar can reduce the spiciness, but some say it doesn’t help much.
Eat something starchy.
Carbohydrates, like potatoes and bread, absorb the capsaicin.
Starchy carbohydrates create a barrier that makes it harder for capsaicin to penetrate your taste buds. Put a slice of bread next to your glass of milk if you know you’re eating something extremely spicy. Don’t skip the naan bread or rice when eating chicken tikka masala. Make a regular burrito out of the Spicy Burrito Bowl. Spicy Indian or Chinese food isn’t served with rice for anything: the texture and starch can mitigate the spiciness.
Breathe through your mouth while you eat.
Exhale slowly between each bite to blow away the spiciness.
If you stick it out and clench your teeth, it will only get worse. Exhale slowly to cool your mouth, but don’t blow it all in the face of whoever is sitting across from you. People don’t think about such small things, but it makes a big difference. This can also help on a psychological level. If you are in pain, imagine blowing the chili flakes into the air. This idea already alleviates the sharpness.
Eat something buttery or cheesy to settle your stomach.
Saturated fats from dairy products eliminate the remaining tartness in the digestive tract.
After your main course, snack on some cheese cubes or a yogurt. A cold bowl of ice cream is the perfect dessert when the heat is still burning. A bit of buttery popcorn or buttered toast will help if you prefer starch to dairy. Cheesecake is also great if you want to go overboard. It’s high in saturated fat, some starch, and lots of milk.
Take an antacid or eat something beforehand if the heat upsets your stomach.
Capsaicin can irritate the stomach when it’s empty and unprotected.
If you go out with friends and they eat something spicy, take an antacid beforehand to protect your stomach. Alternatively, you can eat a small snack, like a sandwich or mashed potatoes, to fill your stomach and give the capsaicin something to latch onto when it hits your stomach. Don’t overdo it with the antacid. Too much of it can complicate the stomach’s acid production. Take it every now and then as a precaution, but not every day if you are in Thailand for a month or something.
It will be over soon.
The sharpness disappears after 15 minutes.
If your mouth is on fire, remember: it’s not forever. The mental strength helps a lot in dealing with sharpness. If you’re reading this after eating something extremely spicy and wondering how you’ll ever get used to the feeling, just wait 15 minutes. It’s tough on your stomach when you have a pre-existing condition, like IBS, but you’re not at risk if you’ve eaten something spicy. Take deep breaths when you’re freaking out. You’ll feel better soon.
Some are genetically predisposed to dislike spicy foods. If your tolerance isn’t increasing or you’re not learning to enjoy the heat, don’t push yourself. You can’t “kill” your taste buds with spicy food. This is a common myth. The numbness in the tongue is just the body’s protective response to the pain.