The Case For Beating The Heat By Eating It
Science, you guys.
September 3, 2020 ● 1 min read
By Jourdan Plautz | Image KC Green
Sure, sure, the heat’s great when it first comes around.
Warm rain, blooming flowers, those gentle breezes that don’t freeze your buns off for once. But by August, the heat has been building for months and that summer train comes to a screeching crash via hellfire and sticky thighs on vinyl upholstery.
So far, you’ve beat it back with ice cream and cold beers, but two months and ten pounds later, they just don’t cut it. You’ve even tried slapping a soggy rag to the back of your neck to no avail. This sucks. What gives? You might not want to hear this, but to beat the heat, you gotta crank it: Eating spicy food raises your internal body temperature, which in turn, elicits sweating.
"Turns out there are nerves in our tongue and mouth that have special molecules in them called receptors....So when you eat or drink something hot, these receptors get that heat signal, and that tells the nerve to let the brain know what's going on," Peter McNaughton, a neuroscientist at the University of Cambridge told NPR. "When the brain gets the message 'It's hot in here,' it turns on the mechanism we have to cool ourselves off: sweating."
Here’s the deal—ice cream, iced tea, iced anything—cools your internal temperature so fast, your body compensates by raising your body temperature. By the time you’re done, you’re even hotter than when you started. Ice cream has been betraying you this whole time!
Time to try it out. In Boston, sacrifice your taste buds to the spicy shishito peppers at Porto. New York City’s SubCulture Dining has awesome jalapeño bread. Down south, New Orleans has a spicy crawfish salad waiting for you at The Company Burger. For our West Coast friends, San Francisco’s Nopa pairs a creamy jalapeño sauce with their pizza.