Q:

What is the fascination with eating hot foods?

A:

Quick Answer

People typically enjoy adding spicy ingredients to their foods because not only do they add their own unique tastes to a dish, but they also allow flavors to become more intense through the emphasis of heat. Spicy foods are also said to boost levels of serotonin, also known as the "feel good" hormone.

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Full Answer

There are several health benefits to eating hot and spicy foods. They cause an increase in saliva production that aids digestion and often contain bacteria-fighting chemicals for a clean and healthy mouth. Onions even contain a significant amount of vitamin C which keeps teeth and gums healthy and strong. Spicy foods are known to increase blood flow, which reduces clots and cholesterol levels. They are even known to be effective pain relievers when they induce the production of serotonin. Many people believe that eating spicy foods damages the stomach lining and creates ulcers; however, unless a person already has a severe stomach condition this is probably not the case. In fact the heating ingredient in chili peppers, capsaisin, heals the stomach lining by repairing damage done by anti inflammatory drugs. Capsaisin promotes the excretion of buffering chemicals to balance the delicate pH in the stomach while killing any bacteria that may have entered the digestive system while eating.

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