Whether you’re a seasoned pro or brand new to the chilehead scene, one can never have too many tricks up their sleeves to help deal with the heat!
Some methods are tried and true (hello chugging any dairy product within a five mile radius), and others might come as a bit of a surprise. Check out these five tips and tricks to help you turn up the heat.
1. Build your tolerance.
If you’re only just starting to venture into the world of spicy food and hot sauces, it’s best to start slow and gradually build up your tolerance. Pace yourself slowly - you’ve got nothing to prove! Starting mild gives you room to grow and experiment and find your favourites and preferences when it comes to spicy food, and gives your mouth and body time to adjust without too much pain and regret.
Check out our Not Too Hot collection for some mild options that will have you feeling the heat without throwing you into the deep end!
2. Not on an empty stomach.
Whatever you do, don’t experiment with different heat levels on an empty stomach. It may (probably will) rebel. Give your digestive system a little bit of cushion, especially if it’s sensitive. It could be something as simple as a piece of toast or oatmeal (carbs are especially forgiving) - something that digests a little slower and gives a little grace period for you to get your spice on.
3. Dairy products are your friend.
Dairy products contain a heat neutralizing protein called casein. It helps break down the active capsaicin molecule found in spicy food - much like dish soap helps break down grease. The fat content of the mild doesn't matter - both whole and skim milk perform the same when it comes to fighting the heat. That means that post-spice, any kind of animal milk should do the trick. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for milk substitute products such as oat or almond milk, they don’t contain that special heat-busting protein.
4. Alkaline foods.
I’m sure we’ve all seen the Gordon Ramsey episode of the Hot Ones - he came prepared with lemon and lime juice to help fight the inferno. He may have looked crazy, but he was on to something! The alkaline found in foods like lemons, limes, oranges and tomatoes can bind to capsaicin molecules and neutralize them. Acids counteract acids. If there are no other options available and you’re on fire - suck on that lemon!
5. If all else fails, take them meds.
Listen, we have nothing to prove here. If all else fails, don't be too proud to prepare with antacids and other indigestion-related remedies which can help prevent heartburn and acid reflux. But then again, chileheads may like the rush more than most.
What are your favourite methods for beating the heat?