Does it make you sweat just to think about eating a hot curry on a hot day? Is hot food the last thing you want in summer when the temperature is soaring and the humidity is making everything super sticky? Have a think about countries where the climate is hot, hot, hot! What are they eating in India, Mexico, Ethiopia and Jamaica? Yep! Scorching curries, hot tamales, tongue-burning stews and blistering jerk marinades. But how can this be? Well there’s a very good reason why people in the hottest spots of the world choose spicy foods.
What happens in your body?
When you consume spicy food, your core body temperature goes up to match the temperature outside your body. It causes your blood circulation to increase which makes you sweat and as your perspiration evaporates, you cool off. It’s pure science, amigo! Mind you, people living in hot spots in the world didn’t have much science to draw from; they found out by doing.
So maybe you usually try to cool off with iced tea or a big bowl of ice cream or a few huge slices of cold watermelon. None of them will do you any harm but the effect won’t last as long as if you tuck into a yummy curry! Why? Because they cool your body temperature too quickly and your body will naturally compensate by raising your core temp. You’ll actually end up feeling even hotter!
How to cool down your mouth!
Ok so now you want to try a hot curry, don’t you? But you’re worried about feeling the burn in your mouth! We hear you, amigo! The best advice is again to do the opposite of what you may think. DON’T GUZZLE COLD WATER when your mouth is burning! When your tongue is on fire, drink a glass of milk or order a lassi. The casein – the protein in dairy foods – will break down the fiery elements of the chilli so the heat can be washed away. That’s why in Mexican and Indian cuisine, you’ll always see dairy accompaniments like yoghurt, sour cream and cream. You could even have some milk chocolate because the fat and sugar in it help to break down the capsaicin as it is fat-soluble and the sugar will neutralise the heat.
Dare to go hot!
Why not try one of the hotter dishes on the IndiMex menu this summer? Maybe a Seafood Madras as it’s creamy yet light and has a real kick to it! If you really want to be prepared, order a tasty lassi (yoghurt-based drink) with it and enjoy them together.