Why does spicy food get spicier when hot?


It almost always happens, sometimes to an extent where I can’t even put any more in my mouth! Why does this happen? What kind of chemistry and bonds are inolved? (Keep it like I’m 5)

In: Chemistry

There is some chemistry with why spicy food is spicy, but surprisingly not why it feels spicier when it’s hot. Capsacien is an oil and that is what makes spicy food spicy. It’s chemical structure acts like a key that fits into pain receptors on our tongue. The more oil, the more pain receptors are turned on. Spiciness is actually pain in our tongue.

When you eat food that is hot, the temperature stimulates the same pain receptors. Pain is our warning system that something is wrong and being burned is bad. So the effect of the pain from the temperature combines with the pain from the spiciness and makes it seem like the food is more spicy than it actually is.

When you increase the Heat of a substance, you cause the molecules in that substance to move around more quickly and more energetically.

This tends to increase the rate at which chemical reactions will occur, because the molecules are moving around more and they are more likely to randomly bump into each other.

The Heat you feel from hot peppers is caused by a chemical called capsaicin interacting with one of the surface detection molecules on one of your pain receptors. When the food you are eating is more warm, that is more likely to happen. Which means that instead of having about 20% of the billions and billions of capsaicin molecules in the substance activating your receptors at once, it’ll be more like 40 or 50%.

Spicy food creates a reaction on the tongue which simulates a burning sensation…your body literally thinks that it is burning….now when food is hot it creates a synergistic effect with the spicyness where you actually are experience burning sensation along with the reaction from the spice.
Regarding the chemistry for this phenomenon….i don’t think that anyone could explain that to a 5 yr old.