It seems like there are more chili eating contests year on year. And, there appears to be a constant stream of radio DJs and TV hosts diving into the hottest foods they (or rather, their producers) can find.
What’s the big deal?
It could be a show of machismo – or just the best idea for raising money we’ve had to date. But, it’s also because eating chili peppers and indulging in super hot sauces is a serious rush. That’s right; chilies get you high – and it’s legal, no matter where you live.
How To Eat Chili Peppers like a Pro?
For a start, don’t be an idiot. Seriously. If your current idea of hot is a Jalapeño, you have no business diving right into a Carolina Reaper like you’re the man. That’s just plain stupid, and you know it. You can build your heat tolerance with time, but biting into a Ghost Pepper isn’t smart – or macho. You’ll cry and make a fool of yourself.
When you’re ready for serious peppers, you can try these tips.
Take It Slow – Your body reacts to the capsaicin in peppers. The more you have in a single dose; the more your body reacts. Eat each pepper slowly, as if you savor the burn (rather than fear it). Although it will make the burn last longer, you’ll have a manageable amount of capsaicin in your system.
Cool and Fool Your Mouth – Drinking water won’t neutralize the burn and cold water won’t do any better. But, if you suck on an ice cube or chew on a bit of bread, you can give your brain something else to focus on. Think about the texture rather than the temperature or the pain and you’re halfway there.
Neutralize the Burn – If you really can’t take the full 15 minutes of pain (yes, that’s how long capsaicin stings), grab some milk or sour cream and go to town. These dairy products actually work to neutralize the burn, and you might just need that at some point.
Think Your Way through It – Here’s what you need to know – you’re not on fire; your brain just thinks you are. When you eat a chili pepper, you activate the same pain receptors as you do when you stick your hand in a fire (we seriously don’t recommend you test that at home). As these receptors flare-up, your brain calls your body into action. You begin to sweat, cry, hiccup, and anything else ridiculous that you’ve seen on YouTube videos. But, it’s all mental (unless you’ve quickly eaten enough chili peppers to send you into a coma). Before you bite into a chili pepper, brace yourself mentally. You might also want to set a stopwatch so you can see when 15 minutes have passed.
But really, we must reiterate that you shouldn’t be foolish; build your tolerance over time. There are plenty of life-saving reasons to enjoy chili peppers, but you’ll still benefit if you start slowly – perhaps more so.