Why We Crave Spice & the Health Benefits of Chili Peppers

by Tony Winders October 02, 2020

Why We Crave Spice & the Health Benefits of Chili Peppers

Most people instinctively reach for the salt and pepper when they sit down to a meal, sometimes even before they take a bite. And if something hotter and spicier is available, they’ll grab that to enhance the flavor even further. Why is it that we can’t leave a perfectly fine bowl of pasta, slice of pizza or a pile of scrambled eggs alone? 

It turns out the answers are many, and they can all be explained by science. Our passion for pepper kicks off a variety of processes in our bodies, causing our brains to send us subtle messages that we don’t even realize we’re getting. 

In fact, hot peppers grow on plants in the genus Capsicun. The chemical irritant these pods produce was meant as a defense against mammals, but it didn’t work when it came to people because it also provides multiple benefits. It speeds up metabolism, for example, and that slows down the appetite and thus inhibits weight gain. 

This fiery substance also induces thermogenesis -- the way cells convert heat into energy. That means if you’re cold, eating hot chili peppers will warm you up. If you eat them on a sweltering day you’ll break into a sweat that will actually cause you to cool down. 

Since they will inevitably burn your mouth, your helpful brain will release endorphins to help reduce the pain and give you the same kind of happy feeling you get after a successful workout. 

People who eat peppers regularly become accustomed to the heat and seek ever-hotter sensations. That’s because over time the capsaicin depletes the body of substance P, the neurotransmitter that sends pain messages to your brain, and it takes more heat to make your body react. It’s kind of like being an addict -- but in a good way. 

Typically males seek ever-hotter taste sensations because of the testosterone in their bodies. This is the hormone that causes them to seek out ever-more-challenging adventures and thrills both in what they do and how they eat. The same guys who jump out of airplanes or navigate Class IV rapids are likely to want more hot peppers and flavors in their diets. Women, however, say they like peppers just because they taste good. 

Whatever your reason, Fuegorita has your craving covered. Our secret blend of all-natural hot peppers ranks high on the Scovile Scale, but it has complexities of flavor not found in other brands, making your food more interesting on every level. 

Tony Winders
Tony Winders