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Why does eating spicy food make you sweat?

The food isn't really hot, so it shouldn't logically cause sweating.

5154 day(s) ago

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Spicy foods cause a lot of different effects on the human body, one of which is sweating. Sweating from eating spicy foods is called gustatory sweating. When we eat spicy foods, nerves are triggered in the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system controls actions that occur without us having to think about them, such as our heartbeat and breathing. Gustatory sweating is usually limited to the face. When eating spicy foods, sweat commonly forms on the upper lip and the nose. In some cases it can spread to the cheeks, forehead, and neck. This sweating is a result of a side effect of how our sweat glands work. Nerves connected to our salivary glands are also used by the body to trigger sweating. When we eat spicy foods, they activate the nerves and we start producing acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that causes us to sweat. In a way, the sweating is a malfunction of the body. However, it can’t be considered a real malfunction because most everyone’s body works the same way.

The reason food is spicy in the first place is because of a natural oil found in many types of peppers. This oil is called capsaicin. Capsaicin was first discovered in 1816 and scientists were able to isolate and purify it for study in 1876. The heat of peppers depends upon how much capsaicin is in them. This heat is measured using a scale of “Scoville units.” Pure capsaicin has 16 million Scoville units. Jalapeño peppers rate at only 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville units. The hottest known pepper is the Bhut Jolokia, from India, with 1 million Scoville units. The pepper spray used by police and for self-protection is just over 5 million Scoville units.

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