The answer to one of life’s most burning questions

You’ve probably heard people say:

Their mouth is “burning” or it feels like their mouth is “on fire” from eating spicy food. But is there any truth to it, or is it all in your head? According to several publications, that burning sensation doesn’t mean you’re actually burning your mouth or burning your tongue. Instead, it’s just a feeling you get from eating the capsaicin found in hot peppers.

When the chemical compound comes into contact with neurotransmitters in your mouth, you start feeling a burning sensation. 

The truth is, your tongue can’t actually taste heat. Instead, the nerve receptors in your tongue are sensing heat, and they’re sending off a warning. You could get this reaction even if you truly enjoy what you’re eating. While some pepper lovers will tell you they eat spicy food for the taste alone, some researchers believe certain people enjoy spicy peppers because of the endorphins released when they eat them. Others choose hot peppers and spicy food for the multiple health benefits.

That’s right, spicy food can really be good for your body.

It’s been shown in the past that spicy food can help speed up your metabolism and reduce inflammation. Eating the hot stuff could also lengthen your lifespan, potentially fight off cancer and help kill off harmful bacteria. These health benefits are just a few of the good reasons to reach for more hot peppers at mealtime. Whether you choose a pepper that’s a bit lower on the hot scale, somewhere in the middle of the pepper heat scale, or you’re ready to start really experimenting with the Scoville chart, there are plenty of great reasons to incorporate more hot peppers and spicy food into your diet. Just don’t be alarmed if you feel the burn of hot peppers from time to time.

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