Summer heat has arrived in several parts of India, sooner than expected for most of us. While you struggle to deal with the sweltering weather, here’s something that you should do - choose spice over ice.
When you eat spicy food, the perspiration that follows helps the body cool down faster. It’s really as simple as that. Don’t believe us? Here’s what nutritionist and health columnist Kavita Devgan has to say:
Spicy food triggers a neural response in our body which triggers vasodilation, sweating, and flushing, which actually are the primary methods our body uses to regulate its temperature and remove heat.
Too caught up to read? Listen to the story here:
The Science of Cooling Down Because of Spice
It is indeed tempting to reach out for a thanda glass of nimbu-paani or some good old aerated drink, but all they do is provide instant, but temporary gratification. In fact, a cold food item would actually leave you feeling more hot.
When you consume something chilled, the internal bodily temperature drops quickly.
In fact, ice cream and very cold drinks don’t help at all. When we eat foods that are at much lower temperature than our body’s, initially there is a cooling effect, but after 15-20 minutes the opposite happens as the body responds to the heat-loss by increasing blood flow to the cool region.Kavita Devgan
The body, which attempts to maintain a constant internal temperature, treats this phenomenon by raising its temperature, thereby leaving you feeling more hot than you started.
A spicy snack, on the other hand, raises your bodily temperature which results in sweating. Once the sweat evaporates, you feel cooler. The phenomenon is termed “gustatory facial sweating”, points out Huffington Post.
Why facial, you ask? Because that is where sweating generally starts first.
But Don’t Sweat it ALL Out!
As is true with anything - do not overdo the whole spicy food bit. It is true that over time you increase your threshold for spicy food. Culinary writer Jeff Porter comments on this in his book Cooking for Geeks and says:
In one of nature’s more subtle moves, substance P (the neurotransmitter that controls the reaction to hot pepper) can be depleted slowly and takes times—many days, possibly weeks—to replenish, meaning that if you eat hot foods often, you literally build up a tolerance for hotter and hotter foods as your ability to detect their presence goes down.
This also means that even if you are not someone who prefers spicy food, you can build that tolerance over time. But at the same time, it’s important to keep yourself hydrated.
Important thing to do though is to stay hydrated all through, specially when you eat spicy food.Kavita Devgan