Sabah Drabu

4 mins read

Apr 24, 2023

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How to Reduce the Burn of Spiciness

For many people, the heat of spiciness in food can be both thrilling and overwhelming. The burning sensation of spicy food is often the result of a compound called capsaicin, which triggers the receptors in our mouths and skin that detect heat.  

While some people may find the burning sensation enjoyable, others may find it uncomfortable or painful. 

When it comes to reducing the burn of spiciness, many of us reach for a glass of water or milk. However, these traditional remedies may not always be effective, as they only offer temporary relief and do not actually reduce the level of spiciness in the mouth.  

In this blog, we will explore some proven methods for reducing the burn of spiciness so that you can enjoy your favorite spicy foods without discomfort. 

The Science of Spiciness

To understand the burning sensation caused by spicy food, we need to dive into the science behind it.  

How Capsaicin Triggers Heat Receptors in Our Mouths

The primary compound responsible for spiciness is capsaicin, found in chili peppers. When we eat spicy food, capsaicin binds to receptors in our mouths called TRPV1 receptors, which are responsible for detecting heat. 

When capsaicin binds to these receptors, it causes them to activate and send signals to our brain that we are experiencing heat. This is why we often describe the burning sensation caused by spicy food as a “heat” sensation, even though there is no actual temperature increase in our mouths. 

Spicy Sensations: Why Our Brain Mistakes Heat for Burn

Interestingly, capsaicin can trick our brains into confusing the burning sensation with actual heat. This is because the same part of our brain that processes temperature information also processes pain information. When we experience the burning sensation caused by capsaicin, our brain may interpret it as actual heat, which can be confusing. 

The Scoville Scale for Measuring Spiciness

The Scoville heat scale is often used to measure the spiciness of the food. This scale measures the concentration of capsaicin in a food item, with higher concentrations resulting in a higher number on the Scoville scale.  

Also Read: Why do we Love Spicy Food? The Science Behind the Heat

Beverages that Reduce Oral Burn

Most of us tend to reach for a glass of water to reduce the burn caused by spiciness. However, water is often ineffective in reducing spiciness, as capsaicin is not water-soluble and can remain in the mouth even after drinking water. 

It is interesting to note that beverages such as beer or soda can intensify the perception of burn as they contain ethanol, which can dissolve capsaicin and increase its spread in the mouth. 

On the other hand, sweetened beverages like fruit juice or milk can provide relief from the spiciness. Sugar molecules in sweetened beverages activate sweetness receptors on the tongue, which can help reduce the perception of spiciness. Moreover, milk contains casein, a protein that binds to capsaicin and helps neutralize its effects. 

Dairy Products to Calm the Burn

If you’re looking for a quick and effective way to calm the burn of spiciness, dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and ice cream can be a great choice. 

Casein, a protein found in dairy products, is distinctive in attracting and removing capsaicin molecules from our taste buds, resulting in a calming and cooling effect on the mouth when we consume such products. 

Furthermore, the high-fat content in dairy products also helps to create a barrier between the capsaicin molecules and our taste buds, further reducing the burning sensation. 

So, the next time you feel the heat from spicy food, reach for a cold glass of milk or a scoop of ice cream to help ease the burn. 

Other Ways to Relieve Spiciness

Besides the ones described above, you can try several different remedies to reduce the burn of spiciness.  

One method is to eat absorbing foods such as rice, which can help soak the capsaicin molecules from your mouth and reduce the burning sensation. 

Another effective remedy is to eat bread, which can help to neutralize the capsaicin molecules due to its starchy nature. Similarly, peanut butter or honey can also provide relief as they contain oils that help to dissolve and wash away the capsaicin molecules. 

By experimenting with different remedies, you can find the one that works best for you and effectively reduces the spiciness in your mouth. 

Hire a Personal Chef, Get a Balanced Meal

Eating a balanced meal is vital for maintaining good health, but finding the time and expertise to create nutritious and flavorful dishes can be challenging. That’s where hiring a personal chef can come in handy.  

With a personal chef, you can enjoy customized meals that meet your dietary needs and preferences with the right amount of spiciness.  

An experienced chef can adjust the heat level in your food to suit your taste, whether you prefer mild or fiery flavors.  

Besides making your meals more enjoyable, a personal chef can introduce you to new ingredients and cooking techniques, expanding your culinary horizons and improving your overall nutrition. 

So, if you want to hire a personal chef in Ohio, CookinGenie is the ideal platform. Explore our chefs and their menu and hire one who works in your area. 

Conclusion

The burn of spiciness can be exhilarating and uncomfortable, depending on your preferences. While water is often ineffective in reducing spiciness, sweetened beverages like milk or fruit juice can provide relief by activating sweetness receptors on the tongue and neutralizing capsaicin molecules.  

Dairy products containing casein, such as milk, yogurt, and ice cream, are particularly effective in calming the burn. Thanks to their ability to attract and wash away capsaicin molecules.  

Besides, absorbing foods like rice and neutralizing options such as bread, peanut butter, or honey can also help to relieve the burning sensation caused by spicy food. By exploring these different remedies, you can find the one that works best for you and enjoy your favorite spicy dishes without discomfort. 

 

Reference: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4738735/ 

https://thedaily.case.edu/how-does-the-brain-process-heat-as-pain/  

https://greatist.com/eat/best-way-to-soothe-burning-mouth#What-cools-the-burn 

https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2020/sep/how-to-cool-your-mouth-down-after-eating-spicy-food/ 

https://www.eatingwell.com/article/7897802/stop-mouth-burning-spicy-food/  

Sabah Drabu

Co-Founder & CEO

Sabah Drabu is a foodie, engineer, and the Co-founder & CEO of CookinGenie. She created the platform in 2019 to connect local chefs with at-home diners, making hiring personal chefs more accessible. Sabah's idea has evolved into a service people use for parties, vacation rentals, and family gatherings.

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