Some like it hot… and here’s why

In honor of Hot and Spicy Food Day, we decided to take a deep dive into understanding what makes spicy food so spicy and why the heck we love it so much.

Spicy foods contain capsaicin and other similar compounds called capsaicinoids. These capsaicin compounds attach themselves to vanilloid receptors on our tongues each time we eat anything “spicy”. These vanilloid receptors are supposed to tell our brains when the temperature of a food is too hot however, it just so happens that capsaicin and capsaicinoids trigger those receptors even if the temperature of the food is cool, room-temperature or mildly steaming.

So, what does all that sciency-mumbo-jumbo mean?

It means that when we eat foods containing capsaicin our brains are tricked into thinking our mouth is literally on fire and we are moments from burning our faces off!

Not only that, but we also have vanilloid receptors in our…. Um….. *cough* bum *cough*. Which is why… When it’s hot goin’ in, It’s hot comin’ out. 

Capsaicinoids also trigger the brain to increase our energy and salivation while decreasing our appetite and best of all, they induce the release of endorphins and dopamine (the happy hormones) in our brains.

That’s why the pain of extra, hot buffalo wings just hurts so good and why we can’t ever get enough.

So, we know what you’re thinkin’,

“Yeah, yeah this is all great information but, I want to know how I can make it through that ‘Wall of Flame Challenge’I heard about the other day.”

Well, friend, you’re in luck because here are a few tips and tricks we found that can help you handle the heat.

First things first, make sure you use the correct coolants! Capsaicin is not water-soluble, which is why chugging water doesn’t alleviate the burning sensation. However, capsaicin is soluble in fat and alcohol, which is why hot wings pair so well with milky ranch, creamy blue cheese and (dare we say) an ice-cold beer!

You can also curb the heat with milk, sugary sweets, rice, sour cream, and lime juice.

If you strive to be a spicy-food eating champion, know that you can be! Building a tolerance to spice is possible. With regular intake of capsaicin, the vanilloid receptors become more and more resistant. So, with patience and practice, you can go from sweating at the mere sight of pepperoni to throwing some cayenne pepper and hot sauce onto every dish you eat!

By now you are surely more than ready to bring on the heat with some hot wings and a cold beer.

Well, you’re in luck because Wings Etc. has both of those things. We have 22 different signature sauces so you can work on building your tolerance while trying some beers from our extensive draft and bottle beer selections to tame that burn. And when you’re ready to make it through 16 traditional habanero-hot wings without anything to cool you down, you can tackle our infamous “Wall of Flame Challenge”.

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