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Why You're Craving Hot Sauce & Spicy Food

Why You're Craving Hot Sauce & Spicy Food

Have you ever found yourself reaching for that bottle of hot sauce, craving that spicy kick and endorphin rush? You're not alone. In fact, we do it here everyday. Many people crave the exhilarating heat that spicy foods provide. In the US, a notable trend shows that approximately 59% of consumers aged 18–34 have a preference for very spicy foods.

But why exactly do we seek out these mouth-scorching sensations?

Or maybe you're craving spicy food all of a sudden which seems out of the norm. Well, there are actually a few reasons why you might be craving hot sauce and other spicy foods.

There is a Scientific Explanation

If you were hoping that we would say that you crave spicy food because it's your body's way of telling you that you need more hot sauce in your life, then we apologize (although we think you probably do!).

spicy chips and salsa

The truth is, there is a simple scientific explanation behind it. The compound responsible for the fiery sensation that spicy foods produce is called capsaicin.

When capsaicin comes into contact with your taste buds, it activates certain receptors in your mouth that signal to your brain that you are experiencing heat and pain.

But why do we find pleasure in this experience?

Well, when our taste buds are stimulated by capsaicin, our brain releases endorphins - the feel good hormones. This creates a sense of euphoria and can also act as a natural pain reliever.

It's no wonder we find ourselves craving spicy food and hot sauce! Our bodies are literally wired to enjoy it.

It's not just middle aged people that love it either though, pregnant women also have their spice cravings. A survey from Baby Center showed that 17% of pregnant women crave spicy food.

Other Reasons Why You Crave Spicy Food

Besides the endorphins, there are other reasons why you might find yourself craving spicy food.

Your Genetic Makeup

For one, your genetics may play a role. Some people have a higher tolerance for spicy food due to their genetic makeup. A study found that 18–58% of a person's tolerance for heat is influenced by genetics. Scientific evidence indicates that some individuals are born with fewer receptors that detect capsaicin, making them less likely to feel the burning sensation.

On the other hand, some people are born with more receptors and may feel a stronger reaction to spicy foods.

spicy chicken wings with hot sauce

Emotions & Hormones

Another reason could actually be due to emotional and hormonal imbalances. Our hormones influence our emotions and our cravings, hormones such as cortisol and testosterone may trigger cravings for spicy foods.

Not to mention, when we are stressed or anxious, our bodies produce more cortisol which can lead to a desire for comfort foods like hot and spicy dishes. Meaning that these hormones could be playing a big influence on our taste preferences... encouraging you to get another bottle of your favorite hot sauce.

Adds Flavor and Variety

Aside from the scientific explanation, there are other reasons why we crave hot sauce and spicy foods. One of them is flavor.

Spicy food helps bring out the natural flavors of a dish, making it more enjoyable and satisfying. Adding a little bit of heat can elevate a bland or boring meal to a whole new level.

It also adds variety to our taste buds. If we constantly eat the same types of food, our taste buds can become desensitized and crave something different and exciting. Introducing spicy foods into our diet can provide that much-needed change and stimulation for our palates.

spicy food craving infographic

Can Spicy Food Be Addictive?

Although hot sauce and spicy food do not cause a physiological addiction like drugs, the pleasurable response they evoke can lead to a psychological craving. This can be compared to the enjoyment we get from certain activities, like exercising or listening to music.

We crave it (some more intensely than others), but we can't get physically addicted to it. It's all about the satisfaction and enjoyment that comes with indulging in something we love.

However, it is important to note that moderation is key. Consuming too much spicy food can have negative effects on our health, such as stomach pain and heartburn. It's all about finding balance and listening to our bodies' signals.

What Level of Heat Do You Crave?

  • Very mild (just a tinge of heat)

  • Mild (I like a baby burn)

  • Medium (a good burn is perfect)

  • Hot (I like it when my nose runs and eyes water)

Final Thoughts On Our Spicy Food Cravings

Whether it's the endorphin rush, genetic factors, emotional triggers, or simply the irresistible flavor, there are quite a few reasons why we find ourselves reaching for that bottle of hot sauce.

While spicy food offers numerous benefits and a amazing sensory experience, it's also important that we enjoy it in moderation. Recognizing the reasons behind our cravings can help us appreciate the complexity of our food preferences and the unique ways our bodies respond to them.

So, the next time you reach for that extra dash of heat, remember that your craving is backed by science, culture, and a touch of personal preference.

If you're ready to indulge in those spicy food cravings, make sure to check out Mikey V's Hot Sauces!


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