Environment, taste buds, and even genetics can dictate our response to spicy foods, hot sauces and peppers.
However, if the idea of even a splash of hot sauce is enough to make your eyes water, then here are a few ways to adapt and improve your spice tolerance.
1. Start small
The worst thing you can do is start your journey by introducing a sauce or pepper which is too spicy for you.
If you start off at the higher end of the Scoville heat unit scale (SCU) then experience cannot just have negative impacts on your body, but also will put you off from trying again.
You can see which sauces would be best for you by looking at the SHU scale or starting safe with more commonplace spices and sauces.
2. Take your time
Like with anything, developing your tolerance will take time. If you were exercising, you wouldn’t expect your body to change overnight – and hot sauce is no different. You need to work at it consistently and over a period of time before you begin to see any results in your taste buds or body reactions. Take note of how you react and change as time goes on, and from that, slowly build up to spicier flavours and sauces.
3. Use the right coolants – wisely
It’s a common misconception that people should chug gallons of water as a way to calm down their mouths from the burning sensation that spice leaves behind, instead, the best beverage to ease the pain would be milk and alcohol. To be clear, beer could make the feelings worse. However, reports show that the higher the level of proof in the beverage the more likely it is to ease the pain. So vodka drinkers, you’re in luck.
4. On the side, not all over
Don’t treat hot sauce like you would ketchup or mustard. To really enjoy the impacts of chilli and peppers – and get used to some of their intense heat – in the beginning, you should try asking for the sauce or peppers to come on the side of the meal you’re eating, as opposed to in or on top of it. This will help you take your time when eating, and be able to introduce the chillies into your meal at your own pace.
5. If you don’t like it – don’t do it!
This is probably the most important one of all. If you’re not enjoying the feeling or taste of eating spicy foods then don’t do it. Yes, spicy foods, hot sauce and chillies are loaded with benefits for you and your body, but you’re only doing yourself a disservice if you continue to put yourself through the pain. There are other ways to gain the same benefits that don’t involved spice. Essentially, it’s better to listen to what your body is telling you, than to ignore it and begin to push your body to an unsafe place that can potentially do irrevocable damage.