Addicted to peppers: Why some people can’t get enough spicy

If you feel yourself constantly craving hot, spicy food, it may be more than just your taste buds working overtime.

Some people describe themselves as true addicts when it comes to constantly trying to get their hands on more and more chili peppers. It has to do with capsaicin, which is the active ingredient found in chili peppers. According to the experts, it’s the capsaicin that actually makes peppers so addictive. When you eat hot peppers, the capsaicin binds to receptors in your mouth.


Those receptors then tell your brain your mouth is on fire.

In turn, your body starts producing adrenaline, which then causes endorphins to be released. Endorphins are your body’s natural painkillers. When this happens, it can boost feelings of pleasure. That’s why some say you almost feel like you’ve taken a “happiness hit” when you eat hot peppers. Chili peppers also help encourage the release of dopamine. That’s a brain chemical tied to our sense of pleasure and reward. Some experts say it’s possible to become addicted to peppers because those peppers can indirectly stimulate brain chemicals that boost your mood. In other words, you enjoy the feeling of eating a strong chili pepper, so eventually it becomes a learned behavior and you become addicted to it. Others take a different approach, saying the jolt of eating a hot pepper is similar to the jolt some people get from riding a roller coaster.

No matter, being addicted to chili peppers isn’t necessarily something to worry about. Peppers are packed with health benefits. If you identify as a chili pepper addict, you probably already know how to get your “fix”. With everything from hot sauce to extracts and fiery hot purees, it’s easy to find new and exciting ways to climb the Scoville Scale. Your taste buds will certainly thank us.

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