Why do humans enjoy spicy food if it was originally created to be a defense mechanism against predators? Are their any other animals who enjoy spicy food?


Why do humans enjoy spicy food if it was originally created to be a defense mechanism against predators? Are their any other animals who enjoy spicy food?

In: 30

It releases endorphins in humans which makes it moreish.

[Treeshrews](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treeshrew) are the only other mammal that specifically choose spicy foods over non- spicy.

Spicy food can cause your body to release endorphins, which is the same chemical that occurs when you’re happy.

Birds don’t have spicy receptors. They can eat jalapeños like they’re fucking candy.

Scientists guess that the spicy peppers developed spice to deter mammals from eating them, while leaving the birds able eat the seeds then shits the seeds while flying. This allowed the seeds to spread further than with mammal pooping.

dolphins eat blowfish to get high. i’m sure there’s other animals beyond that but that alone is a filmed wildlife example of pretty much the same thing.

Capsaicin, the chemical in spicy food that sets off a specific pain/heat receptor in our mouth/tongue is specifically a defense against mammals–birds don’t seem to notice it. This works great for spicy peppers, as birds will eat them and poop their seeds intact over long distances, while mammals would tend to digest the seeds and make them useless.

Humans, however, are pretty good at learning. It becomes clear over time that capsaicin is a way to get a pain/heat response with no actual harm or tissue damage. Pain is generally followed by release of endorphins, the body’s system that opioids act on. If you can get a good harmless pain response, it can be followed by a sense of euphoria and well-being, which humans learn to like. Cultures have also used spicy food to promote sweating in hot weather, and have noticed that spices in general can keep food good longer. In cultures where spicy food is common, children learn to tolerate spicy food by imitating the “cool” older kids who have already mastered it.

To the other question: Tree shrews. There’s a small Asian mammal that eats spicy foods in quantity, though it seems to have simply evolved a weaker pain/heat response.

I like spicy foods because I lost my sense of smell and can mostly only taste basic flavors – sweet, salt, bitter, spice.

Gotta remember we use tools and cook our foods nowadays. If you are a normal mammal and you just go face first into a pepper plant you are going to have a bad time.

But if you use your culture and tools you can control the resource exactly like how we are able to control fire when other animals are not.

Long story short. We enjoy spicy food because we consume and expose ourselves to it in very controlled circumstances.

There’s a theory that humans have developed a preference for spicy food because the spice helps keep food fresh. Here’s one article about it if you’re interested:


Meat left out without refrigeration will start to taste bad before it will start to kill you if you eat it, so the solution is to overwhelm your taste buds so you don’t notice that it’s turned. This way your meat lasts longer, so your society is better fed overall.

Every hot-weather culture on the planet had figured it out, but now we just eat them for fun.

The most commonly used herbs and spices have antibacterial properties that help keep food from going bad in the absence of refrigeration. Spicy peppers, which were one of the first plants to be domesticated, can also help keep you free of intestinal worms.