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

Why do we Love Spicy Food -CookinGenie blog

09 Sep 2021

Share:

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

We all know at least one person who loves their food insanely hot. They insist that their hot wings “aren’t spicy enough unless I’m dripping with sweat.”  On it’s face, that doesn’t make sense. Spicy foods cause physical pain, not just in the mouth, but sometime through the entire body. Why would we deliberately eat, and enjoy, something that causes pain? Well, it turns out, there are actually some pretty compelling reasons why so many people around the world love the way it hurts.

Spicy Foods Can Cause a “High”

Spice is not a “flavor” but rather a sensation. The sensation of spice comes from the chemical compound capsaicin, which is the substance that makes hot peppers hot. Capsaicin causes pain and triggers the body to think it’s in danger. In response, the body releases endorphins, which are pleasure causing hormones, this is the body’s way of trying to eliminate the “threat” it feels when you eat spicy food. This chemical release causes some people to associate eating hot foods with happiness, creating a “high”, similar to that of the good feeling you get after exercising.

When the body feels it’s in danger, it will also release the survival hormone adrenaline, which can give someone eating a fiery hot bowl of noodles a sense of heart-pounding excitement, just like if they were riding a roller coaster or bungee jumping. In short, for many, eating hot foods is a kind of thrill seeking.

Hot Peppers are Full of Antimicrobial Properties

It stands to reason that since the chemicals in hot peppers cause us pain, they can also be harmful to bacteria, viruses, and other microbes. Before refrigeration, hot peppers were often used to help preserve food and ward off bacteria in hotter parts of the world. This was integral to food safety; hot peppers were literally life savers.

That’s why hotter countries like India and Mexico have developed very spicy traditional cuisines while more temperate climates like England and Scandinavia produce much more mild food. So, because of these antimicrobial properties found in hot peppers, many cultures created spicy traditional dishes and over generations, billions of people have come to love them.

Hot Food’s Health Benefits

One reason we may love spicy food is because it’s so good for us. Extensive amounts of scientific research point to all kinds of health benefits from eating spicy foods. Capsaicin, the chemical compound found in chili peppers, is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Capsaicin has also been linked to improved digestion, an increased metabolism, better heart health, reduction in cancer risk, and a strengthened immune system. Turns out, hot peppers are one of nature’s true superfoods.

CookinGenie Brings the Heat

At CookinGenie, we offer a range of fiery, delicious dishes that appeal to even the most avid of heat seekers. Try genie Jared’s Red Thai Curry, which uses bird’s eye chili peppers along with a blend of aromatic Thai ingredients to make a vibrant, spicy curry sauce filled with stir-fried vegetables. Perhaps order genie Dylan’s Jerk Chicken, which takes juicy chicken legs and slathers them in a tangy, sweet & spicy Jamaican sauce made from habaneros, ginger, cinnamon, and more.

Whatever, your spice preference may be, CookinGenie can accommodate you. You can always request that a dish be more (or less) spicy, and our genies can even make separate plates so that some portions are really spicy for the heat lover in your family, and the rest are milder. To bring the delicious, healthy heat to your kitchen, book a genie today.

Written by:  Jared Kent


Related Post

process of hiring a personal chef - CookinGenie blog

29 Nov 2021

You’ve got a dinner party coming up, and you’re going through all of the different options you have available to you. However, if you’re not considering hiring a personal chef to handle your dinner party’s menu, you may be doing yourself a disservice. Learn more about the complete process of hiring a personal chef for your upcoming dinner party, and you’ll see why it’s an excellent choice for you. 

Reasons to Hire a Personal Chef 

Hiring a personal chef for your dinner party may seem like an unusual idea, but it’s actually a great idea. There are a lot of benefits that come from hiring a personal chef to handle your dinner party menu. No one wants to stay in the kitchen when you have guests that you want to mingle with during the party. A personal chef makes it possible to get a fantastic meal that’s hot and fresh without you having to slave away in the kitchen trying to get everything done will be a host. Your night to spend time with friends and family doesn’t have to be preempted by you being in the kitchen all night long when you sign up for a personal chef. Plus, you get more services than you may be expecting when hiring a personal chef. 

Services you get by hiring a personal chef 

Hiring a personal chef means more than just having the cooking completed for you. It means you don’t have to worry about menu planning. You can select the menu you want without having to think about ingredients. Your personal chef will handle all of the shopping for you. You won’t have to set foot in a grocery store to pick up the ingredients for your gourmet dinner. No worrying about what time you need to start one course to get to the next on time. Your personal chef has it covered, and everything will be perfect at the start of dinner until it’s time for everyone to enjoy their dessert. Plus, clean-up can be a drag after a party, especially in the kitchen. Hiring a personal chef means that they’ll handle the clean-up of all the items that they used to prepare the meal. You’ll only have to focus on other areas of your home after the party is over and the last guest leaves for the night. 

Getting the right chef for your needs 

The beautiful thing when it comes to hiring a personal chef is that there is a wide variety to choose from for your particular needs. You can always find the perfect chef that’s skilled in preparing the specific meal you’re looking to serve for your dinner party. One of the things you can do to help you choose the right chef is to think about what menu you’d like to see at your dinner party. For instance, if you have a themed dinner party planned, you’ll want to have an idea of what to serve that goes with the theme. For example, an Italian-themed night may be best suited with a personal chef that prepares lovely Italian dishes.  

Once you’ve narrowed down an idea of what you’d like to see served, you can go through the different personal chefs available to you to find which one would be just right for your dinner party with the best availability.  

What to consider before hiring a personal chef? 

There are a few things to consider before hiring a personal chef. Before you start your search, you’ll want to think about your dinner party plans. How many people will you be inviting, your theme, what type of menu you wish to have, and most importantly, you’ll want to think about your budget. Knowing this information in advance will help you when you start considering the different meals and chefs available to prepare them at your home the night of the party. In addition, the budget you set can be a good guide for determining which personal chef you should choose as you’ll find rates will change based on their skill and the menu that you decide upon for the night.  

Where to find a personal chef or a personal chef service provider? 

Finding a personal chef for your event or personal chef service provider can seem tricky. There are a number of personal chefs that work for themselves, and you can do an online search trying to find one that will work for your needs for your upcoming dinner party. There are also personal chef service providers that you can use to find a personal chef. When it comes to convenience and service that has started to grow a following, you can’t go wrong with CookinGenie. Our personal chef directory on our website makes it easy to find the perfect chef and meal to fit your needs for your dinner party or event. Easily scroll through the website while you see who is available.  

How much does a personal chef cost? 

There is a lot of speculation that a personal chef is very expensive and is only a service that someone who’s rich can afford. The truth is that a personal chef is very affordable, and there are options for just about any budget. Your dinner party menu being cooked in your home by a personal chef is comparable to going out to a restaurant for your meal. Of course, more significant portions or meals that take specialty ingredients may run at a higher cost, but it’s very affordable. When you use CookinGenie for your dinner party planning, you’ll be able to see how much a meal will cost you before you book, allowing you to ensure that it fits your budget. 

(Read Here – How Can You Save More by Hiring a Personal Chef?)

Check out CookinGenie today to see what personal chef’s and meal menus are possible for your dinner party. You may be surprised when it comes to the choices available, portion sizes, and prices. If you already use CookinGenie for special events or family dinners, you already know the great options open to you. So start planning your dinner party today. 

 

Read More

National Food Safety Month— Keys for Cooking and Serving Food Safely

24 Sep 2021

Cooking for friends and family is one of the great joys in life. But without practicing proper food safety, cooking can make your loved ones sick, or in extreme cases, even kill them. Luckily, all it takes to prepare and serve food safely is following a few simple rules and using common sense. In honor of food safety month, here are some of the most important things to remember when cooking.

Wash your hands

One of the most important things you can do to keep food safe is constant handwashing. The first thing you should do when you walk into the kitchen is washing your hands. And wash them again after every completed task or when you start handling different ingredients, especially after touching raw meat.

One of the most common ways foodborne illnesses are spread is by bacteria jumping from dirty hands to the food. So, you cannot wash your hands too often. When washing your hands, make sure you run them under warm running water for at least 20 seconds, using antibacterial soap. Scrub between your fingers and under your fingernails every time and dry off with a clean cloth or paper towel. For extra protection, turn off the knob on the sink with that paper towel instead of your bare hands.

When in doubt, throw it out

Nobody likes to waste food. But holding on to old food after it’s gone bad is a good way to get your guests sick.  If anything in your fridge or pantry is moldy, slimy, smells rotten, or is well past its expiration date, just throw it out.

When cooking with canned ingredients, beware of cans that are rusted, dented, or swollen. Swollen cans are a sign of botulism, a dangerous spore that can be fatal. If there are any physical deformities on the can, put it right into the trash. There is a chance that every now and again you may throw out some food that’s still safe to use, but it’s always better safe than sorry.

Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold

As a general rule of thumb, you should try and avoid keeping foods out at room temperature as much as possible, especially more sensitive items like meat, dairy, and eggs. When cooking and storing food, be mindful of the “temperature danger zone”, a temperature range between 41⁰F and 135⁰F. This is the range in which bacteria grows and multiplies most quickly.

Temperatures above or below this range are usually too extreme for most bacteria to survive. So, if a dish is meant to be served hot, you should keep it on the stove or in the oven at 135⁰F or higher for as long as possible, and if it is meant to be served cold, you should keep it in refrigeration at 41⁰F or lower until it’s ready to serve.

It may be helpful to have a digital thermometer on hand to help ensure you’re keeping foods at the proper temperatures. If any highly sensitive foods like meat or dairy are left out in the temperature danger zone for more than four hours, they may be unsafe to eat. Any cooked food that is being reheated should be heated to 165⁰F for at least 15 seconds before serving.

Beware of Cross Contamination

Cross contamination occurs when bacteria or other contaminants are passed to food from shared surfaces or through the air. For example, if you cut raw chicken on a cutting board then later use that same cutting board for fresh vegetables, the vegetables may be contaminated with bacteria from the chicken. To avoid cross contamination, use different utensils for raw meats and vegetables. Also be sure to wash and disinfect counters and other kitchen surfaces frequently.

Consider food allergies

One of the scariest parts of cooking for others can be dealing with food allergies. Allergic reactions to food can range anywhere from a mildly upset stomach to life-threatening anaphylactic shock, where the victim’s throat can begin to shut.

Before your event, ask all your guests if they have any food allergies. If anyone in your party has a severe allergy, consider serving something without that ingredient at all. For people with severe allergies like nuts or shellfish, they may not even need to actively consume the allergen to have a dangerous reaction, just an invisible trace amount may be enough to cause serious symptoms. So, just making a portion without that ingredient may not be enough to keep them safe. When it comes to cooking for people with food allergies, you cannot be too careful.

Cook proteins properly

A common cause of foodborne illness is undercooked meats, especially chicken. Meats need to be cooked to proper internal temperatures to kill the majority of bacteria and parasites that can make you sick. When cooking meats, use a digital thermometer to measure the internal temperature and don’t serve it until the meat comes up to a safe level.

For example, chicken and other poultry need to reach an internal temperature of at least 165⁰F for 15 seconds before they’re safe to eat. For more specifics, check out our complete guide to safely cooking meat.

Wash raw ingredients well

Before cooking with fruits, herbs, or vegetables, rinse them off under cold running water to remove any debris, bacteria, or chemical coating. This is especially important with cantaloupe and honeydew, which always should be washed before cutting. It’s also good practice to rinse off your eggs before cooking with them.

Be extra cautious with the most vulnerable members of your family

When cooking for older or immunocompromised people, you have to be extra careful and attentive. For someone who’s young and healthy, a case of salmonella from an undercooked chicken breast could cause a few days of illness. But for an older person or someone suffering from an autoimmune disease, that salmonella could be fatal.

CookinGenie takes food safety seriously

When you book a chef through CookinGenie, you can be sure that food safety will be the top priority. Many of the genies are professionals with formal food safety training, and others are experienced home cooks with a proven track record of keeping people safe. Food safety is stressed, and every genie knows that’s the most important thing when cooking for you.

Better yet, when you allow a CookinGenie chef into your home, you can watch them cook to be sure the food is being handled properly. Unlike a restaurant, this in-home set-up allows much more transparency and peace of mind than dining out or ordering takeout.

Author – Jared Kent

 

Read More

29 Oct 2019

Do It Yourself meal kits have been around since the early 2000’s and rose quickly in popularity. Globally the business size is well over $2B. So why has this service become so popular?

Most of these companies win customers with a free meal or a discount on their first order. With pre measured ingredients and easy to follow instructions they offer a solution to busy people who wanted to prepare fresh meals for. Some companies even offer specific menu’s catering to special diets such as Paleo, Vegetarian or Keto. As a concept it seems like a great solution to a common problem.

But all good things come with a downside. They offer fixed menus in rotation and limited options for variety. The portions don’t generally allow for left overs and the packaging creates a bulky excess amount of trash or recycling to deal with. Not to mention the work of actually preparing the food. Although they advertise saving time, by allowing you to skip a trip to the grocery store. They usually don’t provide more than a few meals a week, so you still end up at the store to buy staples. You also still have all the work of chopping, cooking and cleaning up after the meal. A task that is less time consuming for singles then for families.

Although this industry quickly blossomed, the bloom might be fading from the rose a bit. Blue Apron is the largest and most widely used meal kit delivery service (Followed by Hello Fresh and Plated.) Although they seem to be able to easily lure in customers with free meals and trial packs, they have trouble maintaining a customer base long term. In fact Blue Apron’s stock has dropped precipitously since its IPO in 2017. Per meal costs or around $10 without leftovers is an issue.

In conclusion these services fill a need for some consumers. Or are at the very least a good short-term solution for people who need a few quick easy meals in a busy season. But in the long-term families are still looking for something better. Something that actually saves time, produces less waste, and offers variety, and healthy food prepared from fresh ingredients. All at an affordable cost.

Allowing our Genies to cook you a fresh healthy meal in your own kitchen may go towards solving the problem that some of the DIY meal kit companies could not solve.

Refernces:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-meal-kit-delivery-service-market-worth-usd-8-94-billion-by-2025-hexa-research-300811555.html

https://slate.com/business/2017/06/blue-apron-customer-retention-low.html

Read More