Keeping Cool with Spice
As the weather improves and the sun shines, you may be inclined to stay away from the curry. However, to keep you cool, spice is the way forward. Many of the countries with the hottest climates also have the spiciest food.
When you eat spicy food, your body naturally chooses to cool you down through perspiration. Although it may seem intuitive to reach for cool temperature foods such as ice cream and very cold drinks, this won’t have a long-term effect. After 15 – 20 minutes, your body will actually start to heat up!
Essentially, your body constantly tries to maintain a constant internal temperature. If you choose foods that adjust your body temperature it will work in your favour to cool down. Hot foods, such as curries, will raise your body temperature causing you to sweat which will evaporate and you’ll feel cooler. Although this may not sound desirable, sweating is the most receptive and efficient way to regulate your body’s temperature.
Spicy foods cause this reaction, as there is an active ingredient in chilli, called capsaicin, which stimulates thermoreceptors. The thermoreceptors trigger the response to sweat and therefore cool us down. The thermoreceptors react in your mouth when you eat chilli. Studies have found that the cooling effect of this reaction actually outweighs the added heat of spicy food.
Keeping cool with spice is best down with a low humidity temperature as the ventilation helps the sweat to evaporate and cool your body down. Don’t feel reluctant to choose the coolest option in the highest of heats, you may do yourself a favour by choosing a curry over an ice lolly.
For the perfect cooling curry, choose something light and refreshing with spice such as a vegetable curry. This will stop the curry feeling ‘heavy’ therefore keeping you cool and spiced up!