Why do humans find such pleasure in torturing themselves? When you think of it, hot sauce bottles regularly boast they are the hottest, most mouth burning creation since the ghost pepper itself, yet we eat this stuff up – literally! But, some forms of spice are more tolerable and actually beneficial to our health. A dash of Tabasco on morning eggs, or famed Buffalo wings generously rolled in Frank’s RedHot is nothing short of a party for the taste buds.
1. There is a scale for measuring the spiciness called the Scoville Heat Index, and the spiciest pepper has over 1,000,000 Scoville units. For comparison, Jalapeños have an average range of 5,000 to 7,000.Chew on that!
2. Christopher Columbus can finally, legitimately be credited for discovering something: The chile pepper. After sampling a plant and thinking it was a relative of the black pepper he, of course, dubbed it a “pepper”.
3. Mexico is hotter than you think. There are 140 varieties of chili peppers grown in the country alone.
4. A common misconception is that spicy foods like chili peppers can cause stomach ulcers when the opposite is true. Eating spicy food can help heal ulcers by stimulating the production of mucosa, the protective lining of the stomach, and killing the bacteria responsible for the ulcer.
5. Spicy foods increase production of hormones such as serotonin. So they may help relieve symptoms of depression and stress.
6. India has the lowest lung, prostate, and colorectal cancer in the world and studies suggest that it’s thanks to the heavy use of turmeric and curcumin in their diets. Turmeric contains polyphenol Curcumin which has been clinically proven to hinder the growth of cancer causing cells.
7. Despite popular belief, botanically speaking, chile pepper pods are actually berries.
8. Why milk after spicy foods? The casein protein in milk will fix to the capsaicin in the pepper and prevent it from binding to your tongue’s pain receptors.