Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Why Super-Spicy Food Burns, and Burns… and Burns

The molecule in spicy food responsible for that delightful burning, capsaicin, happens to be a greasy little bugger that digs in and grapples to heat receptors on your tongue. Pound360 heard it the other day on NPR.

A glass of water won't help. Capsaicin actually is greasy, thus fat soluble (as opposed to water soluble). So drink all the water you want, the capsaicin won't budge. Instead, try drinking a beer, wine, a gin/tonic or shot of whisky (depending on how bad your mouth is burning). The alcohol acts as a solvent, prying capsaicin away from battered heat receptors in your mouth.

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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.