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Why Is Chilli So Damn Hot?

Your mate’s cooked you dinner which turns out to be the spiciest dish you’ve ever eaten – and will serve as a stinging reminder that you can’t trust their cooking. Before you try to recover your pride by taking on that spicy wing challenge at the pub, it’s time to learn why chilli is so damn hot.

What makes chilli hot?

The culprit is a chemical compound family called the capsaicinoids, of which the most common member is capsaicin.

Why does chilli feel so hot?

When the capsaicinoids enter your mouth, they bind to and activate a receptor (called TRVP1) which then sends a signal to your brain. The receptor can also be stimulated by physical heat and that’s you feel like you’ve been stationed in the Sahara.

How do I stop the burning?

Capsaicin is a ‘fatty molecule’ (saturated hydrocarbon), so the best way to remove it from your receptors is to use a similar substance. Dairy products like Messina ice cream are your best bet because they contain a protein called casein. Of course copying Homer Simpson and preventing any capsaicinoids from touching your mouth by drinking some candle wax will also work, although is not advised.

Will water help?

Nope. Not at all. So steer clear of H20 if you want to cool down.

So the next time your throat is slowly closing because of that chilli hit, remember that it isn’t the chilli’s fault for being hot, it’s yours for not knowing the difference. 

 

 

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