Spice Tolerance: The Ride or Die


Primary Thumbnail: Hot Sauce Lineup with the Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


The tolerance of spiciness is the ultimate daredevil trial test, but not everyone can take it! There are those who eat spicy food, and those who do not. Spice is measured by the Scoville Scale, which is used to rank peppers from mildest to spiciest. It has been used as a symbol to test one’s macho qualities and toughness especially in Asian, African, and Latin culture. In fact, there may be health benefits to eating spicy food such as boosting metabolism and preventing cancer. The Carolina Reaper is featured in the Guinness Book of World Records, and it amounts to 2,200,000 SHU. Furthermore, the hot pepper originates from South Carolina, and it is the world’s most spiciest natural pepper to date. A pepper’s quantities are classified and categorized on the Scoville Scale.

The Scoville Scale via the Alimentarium


1912 Pharmacist Wilbur Scoville invented the scale, and in its earliest conception, it was intended to dilute an alcohol spice-based extract. The degree of dilution indicates the SHU and hence it would rank the peppers. Bell peppers are ranked the mildest and sweetest paper on the Scoville Scale. These sweet peppers have zero scoville and can be eaten by almost anyone. The Carolina Reaper scores highest, however, there are other things ranking higher than the reaper itself. U.S. Pepper Spray is ranked at 5,300,000 SHU, and Pure Capsaicin is ranked at 16,000,000 SHU. Resiniferatoxin is a chemical compound produced by the cactus-like Euphorbia Resinifera, and it’s absolutely lethal. The cactus-like plant is native to Morocco, and if it were consumed, then it’d cause internal bleeding and death instantaneously. Resiniferatoxin has a medical use and has been used as a pain reliever to heal long-term chronic pain. Resiniferatoxin’s scoville level is that of 15,000,000,000 SHU, making it the highest of its echelon.


What is Capsaicin?


Capsaicin is most frequently found and associated with spicy food. Capsaicin is the chemical compound in the tongue’s enzymes that break down its properties. Milk works as a counter against capsaicin and it assists in breaking down its properties allowing for the user to cool down efficiently. In fact, in the Hot Ones, Gordon Ramsey, squirted lime juice to reduce the effects of capsaicin. As many know, the Hot Ones is a show where celebrities debut to promote a product. However, their tolerance is tested as each level progresses, the intensity skyrockets as celebrities desperately try to maintain their cool. Capsaicin releases pleasurable endorphins and gives the user an adrenaline rush, leaving them wanting more. This is absolutely a culinary masochistic delicacy.

Birds’ Eye Chillies via CNN’s World’s Best Spicy Foods


What are some of the best ways to increase your spice tolerance?


The best way to increase your spice tolerance is to add on more and more spice progressively. Moreover, spicy snacks are highly encouraged and putting dabs of hot sauce on food as well. However, alongside this, it is important to keep the Scoville Scale in mind of the foods that are consumed. It is perfectly acceptable to have coolants on the side if necessary to cool down. The journey to a better spice tolerance should not be forced at all if you are starting out. On the other hand, spice and heat tolerance may be influenced by genetics. It is important to keep in mind that everyone has a different tolerance towards these things. Nonetheless, through frequent exposure and experimentation, a higher spice tolerance is inevitable when it is maintained excellently.

For those who are already seasoned, there are Carolina Reaper flavored chip-snacks available for the public to try. The Hot Ones and One Chip challenges cannot be recommended for everyone to try in its full entirety. Gastritis, stomach pain, and vomiting, are known to arise from eating spicy food. The human body is known to quickly recover and it will detox itself in these cases. Recent findings in Psychology proved that spice-lovers were sensational thrill-seekers and were more likely to try new things and take risks. These types of people on the contrary though, were likely to display aggression and dominance. In spite of that, people will fancy whatever they are inclined to like, because in conclusion, everyone is wired differently!