If you know a friend or family member who seems to be blessed with an innate ability to eat spicy food without flinching, you may be wondering why you rely on a pint of milk every time hot wings are on the dining table. After all, there aren’t any additional spices on your serving! Scientists are currently researching this spice tolerance disparity and believe it could be down to our genetics. Essentially, they are suggesting that some people are born with a natural resilience to spice and heat. Read on as we explain the facts…
When we eat spicy food, there is a neurological response that takes place in the mouth in order to allow the body to process the heat. This means that you don’t actually cause any damage to your taste buds despite the misconception that a spice tolerance comes from repeated exposure and ‘numbing’ of the receptors in your mouth. From a scientific point of view, the spicy food, a chile pepper for example, releases a chemical called capsaicin which clamps onto the mouth’s TRVP1 neuroreceptors and allows sodium and calcium ions to pass freely. Ultimately, this sends pain signals to the brain and suggests that the mouth is actually burning – just like it would if you were to drink a hot drink before it has been allowed to cool. As a result, you will experience an increase of heat, tingling or perhaps even a burning sensation in the mouth.
It is commonly thought that a person can ‘train’ their receptors to become desensitized to the effects of capsaicin, thereby increasing their tolerance and ability to eat spicier food. With this said, this process should be carried out gradually in order to allow the body to become familiar with the heat that the chemical reaction creates as consuming food that is too spicy will spoil the flavour of a dish and prevent you from enjoying it.
Many people like to point fingers and blame their parents for their lack of spice tolerance, perhaps because their diet as a child didn’t include much variety with regards to the heat of certain dishes. With this said, there does appear to be an inherited tolerance to take into consideration as children from countries like India and Japan, where spice is a fundamental part of culture and cuisine, are able to consume hot dishes with ease. Are you one of the lucky few with a higher than normal capsaicin tolerance? Here at Royal Nawaab, our buffet includes a variety of dishes to tickle your tastebuds with the option to choose between a creamy Korma or a flaming vindaloo. To find out more information, get in contact with the best Indian restaurant on the market today!