Why Are Things Spicy? 🌶️

3 min read

Morning Spice Lovers!

Have you ever wondered why this happens?

What exactly is spice?

Well, we often say food tastes spicy, but spicy isn't actually a taste like sweet, salty or sour.

“Spiciness” is actually just a big trick on your brain.

Let me explain…

So, your body is covered in a bunch of heat receptors called TRPV1 receptors.

Especially in your mouth and nose.

These are designed to alert your brain when you're touching something REALLY FREAKIN HOT.

And I don't mean spicy hot, I mean like hand-on-the-stove hot.

Here's where it gets interesting.

When you take a bite of a spicy food, it sprays out a bunch of special molecules called Capsaicinoids which bind to those heat receptors in your mouth.

Now, despite there being no actual heat, this tricks the receptors into sending a signal to your brain that basically says, "OH MY GOD ITS HOT!"

Your brain interprets this signal as if you had just swallowed a glass of burning hot molten lava.

This is what causes the fiery feeling we associate with spiciness.

The opposite happens when you eat something with menthol in it. Like a mint.

The cool, minty compound activates your cold receptors, so it feels a little cold.

But the main point here is that when you eat a chili pepper for example, your mouth feels like it's burning because your brain actually thinks it's burning.

So, here’s how your body fights back:

Response 1: Your body goes into overdrive, producing TONS of sweat, especially on your forehead and scalp.

Response 2: Your nose starts running like crazy, producing tons of mucus to try to flush out any hot stuff.

Response 3: Lastly, your eyes start running like a waterfall.

So, there you have it.

Spice is a thing because your brain is stupid.

Stay Cute,
Reece, Henry & Dylan 🌈

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