A recent article in Fast Company with the title Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Spicy Food caught my eye. It featured this animated Ted-Ed video from Rose Eveleth on the science of hot hot hot spicy foods. If you find the precise definition of Hot Hot hot in your cooking to be a moving target, check out this entertaining animated video. It creatively explains the number designations of the Scoville Scale and helps you understand why chili peppers burn your tongue and wasabi burns your nose (it’s about neurons and compounds). It even sheds some insight on why certain people crave spicy food. They are the same people who like the thrill of roller coaster rides or even gambling. Hmmmmmm!
If your interest in hot spicy foods goes beyond gambling and roller coaster rides to health benefits, there are many. According to one study people who eat red hot peppers consume 75% fewer calories than those who eat bland food. A study at Purdue found found that chemicals in red peppers (capsaicinoids) can help curb appetite. Spicy foods may even boost your metabolism.
If you love Sriracha sauce, here’s the science behind why it’s so delicious. So, pass the sauce and enjoy your hot spicy foods! For further reading check out the Food Network chili pepper cheat sheet and BuzzFeed 19 Spicy Foods That Hurt So Good.