You know that burning feeling you get on your tongue when you eat spicy foods? I’m sure you wonder: is it literally burning off my taste buds? This food myth is in fact, false. As an average human being ages, the sensitivity of their taste buds decreases, which is mistaken for taste loss due to spicy food choices. The loss of sensitivity is a gradual process which happens over time. This is also why most people don’t like spicy foods throughout their childhood but grow into liking it more.
People blame the loss of taste on the numbness they experience after eating spicy foods. When you eat spicy food, the capsaicin, (the ingredient in hot peppers which makes it seem “hot”), triggers your brain receptors in the same way it does when you eat hot (temperature) food. The brain then sends endorphins to combat the “pain” it feels, which provide the numbness feeling. Not only does capsaicin not harm your taste buds, but it actually has its fair share of health benefits as well. Some scientists use capsaicin in tests which have shown some promise in helping cure diabetes, and fight off cancer.
The sad part is, people have this fear of spicy foods due to this common myth, which is a shame because it scares people away from trying new foods and spices in their daily lives. Imagine spending your whole life afraid that hot foods will harm you and you miss out of all life has to offer because of it. The main point here is that people should not be afraid of trying spicy foods, it can be an eye-opening experience for those that will like it, and a memory for those who do not. Everyone should at least give it a try!