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Why You Should NOT Drink Water after Eating Hot Peppers


Image credit: Hot peppers are loaded with capsaicin, which binds to pain receptors in the mouth. CC0 Public Domain

If you want to know the reason why eating some spicy foods would make your mouth feel like being on fire, you should watch a video recently released by the American Chemical Society. From the video, you could learn the secret related to some of the world’s most excruciating dishes.

The main factor causing phenomenon is a molecule called capsaicin, which could found in the tissue of some hot peppers such as the infamous ghost chili, the scotch bonnet and the habanero. Such substance could play the role in activating pain receptors in the mouth. It then stimulates the brain into coordinating a response aiming to take the invading substance out of the body as soon as possible, which would force the eyes to stream, the nose to run, and the sweat to pour. In order to make measurement of the intensity of this response, a scale named as the Scoville scale has been in use.

However, instead of having to wait for the body to recover in a natural way, pepper-stricken diners could handle it themselves by finding out a non-polar substance to dissolve the capsaicin in.

Non-polar molecules are defined as those that are not positively charged at one end and negatively charged at the other. As capsaicin belongs to this category, it could only be dissolved in other non-polar substances. While water is not one, milk has content of molecules such as fat and a protein called casein, so such substances are good at removing capsaicin from the pain receptors in the mouth.

It is obvious that even if you are not a scientist, by watching the video below, you could also be able to know better about the chemistry behind your pain the next time when you are having something that’s just a little too fiery.

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