Capsaicin, the compound that makes spicy foods taste spicy, can lower your blood pressure and increase your metabolism. But you’ll have a hard time reaping these benefits if you don’t like spicy foods. With a little practice and the tips below, you can expand your palate and build your heat tolerance. Next time you’re at a restaurant, you’ll feel adventurous ordering something outside of your comfort zone.
3 Ways You Can Start Enjoying Spicy Food
1. Work Your Way Up
If you’re not accustomed to spicy food at all, start with the basics. Grind fresh pepper on a dish or mix hot sauce with other sauces to infuse a little bit of spice without the burn. Once you graduate to chilis, don’t reach right for the jalapenos. Start with seeded poblanos to a recipe, and leave the seeds in next time to up the heat. Your mouth might burn sometimes, but that’s okay. It’s an inevitable side-effect of increasing your tolerance.
2. Focus on Flavor
The point of spice isn’t to cause pain—it’s to amplify the flavors that are present and enhance your enjoyment of the food. If you find that adding spice to an entire dish is overpowering, add peppers or hot sauce to a small portion and enjoy it on the side. Building your spice tolerance is pointless if you aren’t enjoying your meals, so prioritize the taste over trying to push your spice limit.
3. Be Prepared to Cool Down
Because capsaicin isn’t soluble in water, reaching for a glass of ice water actually will make the problem worse. That’s because the water will spread this spicy compound across more of the pain receptors in your mouth, enhancing the burn. Instead, choose a dairy product that will bind to the capsaicin and wash it down. You can also find restaurants that use cilantro, lime, and coconut milk in the dishes to temper the burn.
If you’re looking for a restaurant where you can up your spice tolerance, the wings at Buffalo Wild Wings® are the perfect choice. With sauces in a wide range of flavors and heat levels, they’re an ideal testing ground to find out how comfortable you are with spice. Challenge your taste buds with their signature Blazin’ sauce, cool down with Sweet BBQ, or enjoy the exotic with Thai Curry or Mango Habanero. They have 19 locations throughout New York and Connecticut, including Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Stamford. To find a restaurant near you, visit their website.