On any regular day, you will find crowds thronging to shops that dole out sandwiches every few minutes, but the secret ingredient that people come looking for is the burn in the mouth chilly coriander chutney spread generously on their sandwiches. You cannot surpass a piece of the sandwich without tears (I really mean it, I’ve tried one myself) but, beyond all that every time I’ve indulged in something spicy, I’ve felt immediate relief right after it, this had me thinking I should write one about my love for chilies.
The Guardian newspaper states that Millions of people actively seek out the pain of hot chilies as a form of pleasure. The burn features prominently in more than a few of the world’s great cuisines, with more than a quarter of the world’s population eating hot peppers daily.
The extended research about chilies shows that eating a chilly for many is like the thrill of either watching a horror movie. The sense of damage is a false alarm: a way to get the thrill of living on the edge without the risk of exposing yourself to real danger.
But before all that lets dig in to some details
- The heat-causing chemical capsaicin in chillis is produced by plants to deter pests.
- Capasin or capsaicinoids found in chilies are the receptors known for its heat and burning sensation, despite its burning sensation it does not cause any physical or tissue damage. (This point is debatable depending on how much heat you’re ingesting)
- Capasin finds its use in low concentrates for pepper sprays and other deterrents
- The compound that makes chili peppers feel hot in your mouth, is one of the main ingredients in pain-relieving creams. Yes, the balms that you use may contain capasin
- Chilies are known for revving up your metabolism, relieving your stress and making you feel good
Why would anyone seek the burning sensation?
The burn signals the brain to release endorphins releasing the chemical dopamine which makes one instantly feel better or good. That reminds me of the one chilly variety known to tear anyone up instantaneously.
In the variety of chilies, Bhut Jholika is really hot with over 1,041,427 SHUs on Scoville scale with most of the pepper being exported from Assam. Now the fact that you didn’t probably know was that this chilly was also used by the army to make tear gas to suppress rioters.
Apart from that, in the northeast, many people eat chillies to help to keep their body cool during summers, but hold on there is a chilly that has surpassed as the hottest chilly and that is Carolina Reaper
Yep, if there is something that will probably put you on fire is Carolina Reaper surpassing as hottest chillies since 2017, and averages 1.6 million scoville heat units (SHU).
If you don’t believe me, here’s a story reported by the Independent
A man developed “excruciating” thunderclap headaches and had to get emergency medical attention after eating the world’s hottest chilli, the Carolina Reaper, as part of a hot pepper contest.
This is the first time a chilli has been described as causing this brain blood vessel constriction, though it can occur in response to certain medications, including some antidepressants, as well as illicit drugs like cocaine and ecstasy.
Eating intense cayenne pepper has previously been identified as a cause of “vasospasm”, where the blood vessels constrict in other parts of the body, and has caused heart attacks.
Who knew that chilly could actually cause heart attacks ? I think these hot peppers may find their way in the army or medical research to treat patients perhaps.
All that for the future, but for now I’m just going to hang eating my chilly cheese toast smeared with the coriander chutney, after all, a good cry can make anyone feel better.