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The Best Ways to Cool Your Mouth After Eating Something Spicy
When you pop something spicy into your mouth, it’s always good to have a cool beverage nearby. You never know when you’re going to need to put out a fire. But when your mouth feels like it’s going up in flames, some methods of cooling are better than others. Let’s get this out of the way first: Water and soda are two of the worst ways to cool off your mouth after eating something spicy. Water, soda, and even fruit juice will simply spread the heat around, meaning that fiery sensation will only last longer. To combat the heat, it’s important to understand where that sensation comes from. Many spicy sauces and dishes get their heat from capsaicinoids, or specifically, capsaicin, an oily compound that loves to stick to your tongue. It’s important to note that capsaicin is not water-soluble. Chili peppers are a primary source of capsaicin. Other foods, such as mustard, radish, horseradish, and wasabi, get their heat from a compound called allyl isothiocyanate. This compound does not usually stick around as long as capsaicin.
So, what can you do to beat the heat?
For heat brought on by chili peppers, you want a beverage that contains compounds capable of binding with the oiliness of capsaicin. The best compound? Fat. Whole milk will help, but here are some even better alternatives:
• Half-and-half • Yogurt • Kefir
• Sour cream • Ice cream
And for those who are lactose intolerant or vegan, soy milk and peanut butter can help too. The higher the fat content, the better! What about those other foods, like mustard and wasabi? Unlike capsaicin, allyl isothiocyanate is partially water- soluble. This means water and soda will help cool you down — but you still can’t beat dairy. The next time you eat a habanero pepper or put too much hot sauce on your eggs, having a glass of half-and- half on standby can be a lifesaver. It may sound a little weird, but your mouth will thank you.
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