Spicy food has been a part of human cuisine for thousands of years. From the chilies used in ancient Mayan and Aztec cuisine to the fiery curries of India and the hot sauces of the Caribbean, spicy food is loved by many. However, one thing that can be challenging when eating spicy food is the burning sensation that can occur in the mouth and throat (Sometimes it's just a bit too much for us). Many people reach for a glass of water to soothe the burn, but is water really the best choice?
Today we want to talk about whether or not you should drink water with your spicy food and what you may want to drink instead.
Here's what you need to know about water and spicy food.
The Science Behind Spicy Food
The heat in spicy food comes from a compound called capsaicin, which is found in chili peppers. Capsaicin binds to the receptors in the mouth and throat that are responsible for detecting heat, causing them to send signals to the brain that the mouth is on FIRE. This is why eating spicy food and different types of hot sauces can make your mouth feel like it's burning, even though the temperature of the food is not actually hot.
Why Water Doesn't Help
When you drink water after eating spicy food, it can actually make the burning sensation worse. This is because capsaicin is not soluble in water, so it doesn't dissolve or wash away when you drink water. Instead, the water can actually spread the capsaicin around your mouth and throat, making the burning sensation more intense.
What to Drink Instead
So, what should you drink instead of water to soothe the burn of spicy food? One option is milk. Milk contains a protein called casein, which can help to break down the capsaicin and wash it away. Other dairy products like yogurt and cheese can also be effective.
If you don't like dairy or are lactose intolerant, you can try drinking something acidic like lemonade or lime juice. The acid can help to neutralize the capsaicin and reduce the burning sensation.
Another option is to drink something sweet, as the sweetness can counteract the heat. Flavored water, such as cucumber or mint-infused water, can also be a refreshing choice to help cool down the mouth and throat after eating spicy food.
While it's important to choose the right drink to soothe the burn of spicy food, it's also important to stay hydrated. Spicy food can make you feel dehydrated and extremely thirsty (especially if you are eating something SUPER HOT), so it's important to drink plenty of water or other fluids to stay hydrated.
If you're concerned about the environment and want to make a positive impact, consider choosing sustainable and eco-friendly options for staying hydrated. Just Water is one such option, and they believe in "doing well by doing good."
Their water bottles are made from plant-based materials that are fully recyclable, making them a responsible choice for staying hydrated. By choosing products like these, you can help reduce your carbon footprint and minimize your impact on the environment while still enjoying the benefits of staying hydrated.
Tips for Eating Spicy Food
If you're not used to eating spicy food, it can be a bit intimidating at first. Here are a few tips to help you build up your tolerance and enjoy your spicy food cravings:
Start small: Begin with milder dishes and gradually work your way up to spicier ones.
Use dairy products: As we mentioned earlier, milk and other dairy products can help to soothe the burn of spicy food. Keep a glass of milk or some yogurt nearby when trying a new spicy dish.
Don't drink water: As we discussed earlier, water can actually make the burning sensation worse. Stick to the other drink options we mentioned, like milk, something acidic, or something sweet.
Take breaks: If the heat becomes too intense, take a break and let your mouth and throat cool down before continuing.
Enjoy the flavors: Spicy food isn't just about the heat. Take the time to savor the other flavors and spices in the dish, like garlic, ginger, or cumin.
Water & Spicy Food Is a No Go
Water may seem like the obvious choice to drink with spicy food, but it's not the best choice. Instead, try drinking milk, something acidic, or something sweet to soothe the burn of spicy food. And don't forget to stay hydrated with water or other fluids.
With the right drink, you can enjoy spicy food and your favorite hot sauce without being too overwhelmed by the burning sensations going on in your mouth. Remember, water may not be the best choice, but there are plenty of other options that can help to neutralize the heat. So, next time you're reaching for a glass of water after eating spicy food, try something different and see how it works for you.
Your taste buds will thank you!