Monday, February 19, 2007

Hot Sauce: Fascinating, Addictive…

I'm hopelessly addicted to hot sauce. For example, today I had half a 6oz bottle of "Louisiana" hot sauce with my lunch. I'm not kidding. And I'm not bragging. I'm not sure how healthy a habit like that is. But I'm not sure how bad it is either.

You may recall
a study last year that found capsaicin, the stuff in peppers that makes them hot, killed prostate cancer cells in mice.

And if you're worried about me getting an ulcer, don't.
Ulcers are not caused by spicy food. They're (usually) caused by a bacteria that has plagued man for eons, or modern things like excessive use of "nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories" like asprin and ibuprofen.

I read at Scientific American the other day that recent archeological evidence shows man has eaten spicy peppers for at least 6,000 years.

And if you're wondering why spicy food makes your mouth hot and your body sweat,
you can find that at Scientific American, too. It turns out that capsaicin affects the nerves in your skin that signal extreme heat to your brain. According to SciAm, capsaicin tells the brain, "'I am an intense stimulus,' and 'I am warmth.' Together these stimuli define the sensation of a burn." Eventually the capsaicin travels throughout your body, sending the same signals to your brain, which interprets this as your body getting warm. Thus, you sweat.

Interestingly enough, menthol works in the same way; only it affects the nerves in your skin that signal cold.


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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.