Decoding the spicy food high

Some people are serious about getting their spicy food fix.

It’s not surprising that you’ll find certain people willing and able to keep pushing their love of hot peppers to higher and higher levels on the Scoville Scale. While some people say they do it for the flavor and for the bragging rights, others point to the spicy food high. That’s because some people claim it’s possible to feel a sort of high from eating spicy food, including hot chili peppers. That high is actually related to pain.

When you eat hot peppers and hot pepper-related products, you oftentimes start feeling a burning sensation.

That’s the capsaicin in the hot peppers triggering pain receptors in your mouth. When your body starts feeling what it perceives as pain, it reacts by releasing endorphins. Those endorphins help block your nerves from actually transmitting the pain signals on to your brain. Endorphins aren’t the only thing your body releases. You also start releasing dopamine, which is a type of chemical commonly associated with something pleasurable. When you combine endorphins and dopamine, you end up with an almost giddy, euphoric feeling.

That could explain why some people are willing to take hot pepper eating to the extreme.

It’s not hard to find videos out there, like episodes of Hot Ones, where people are more than willing to try some of the hottest food and hottest hot sauce on the planet. You’ve probably also at least heard of some of those chili pepper eating contests where people push themselves to the extreme, sometimes for a prize, and sometimes just for the bragging rights. No matter where you own taste buds put you on the heat scale, for some there’s simply no limit when it comes to eating hot peppers and enjoying the spicy food high.

Older Post Newer Post