Why Do Some People Love Spicy Foods While Others Don’t?

Some folks just can’t handle the heat. Are these people lacking a specific taste receptor cell? Science has shown us that no, some people are not born with a predisposition to spicy food over others. 

Rather, one’s love for spicy foods is an acquired taste. There are taste receptors on our tongues and in our mouths. And we have discovered that continuous exposure to capsaicin, a chemical found in spicy foods, creates more receptors to respond to the capsaicin. Let’s explore some ways we can build up our tolerance to spicy foods.

Try It

Have you ever had someone say that they just can’t handle spicy food? Well, they are probably telling you the truth. If we don’t ever try spicy foods, or don’t have them very often, we aren’t going to have the number of capsaicin receptors to “handle” the spice.

The best way to build up the receptors is to have more spicy foods. If you are interested in being able to consume more spicy foods, then you should start trying some. However, you don’t want to just jump right to eating a ghost pepper.

Additionally, you may genuinely not enjoy eating hot foods and that is okay as well. No one should force you to eat spicy foods. However, if you desire to be one who can handle the spice, you should start by just trying spicy foods a little bit at a time. 

A good place to start is by adding red pepper flakes, cumin, or cayenne to your dishes. There are some products that are a good starting point as well. You can try some spicy salsa, spicy jelly, or spicy sauces. With these options, you are in control of how much you want to consume.


For those not interested in the spice of life, let’s go over some things that may change your mind. Since the affinity to spicy foods is really based on science, it’s no wonder that there are other scientific explanations for the whole experience. 

When you eat something spicy, your mouth tells your brain that your mouth is on fire. So, your brain thinks there’s a fire and as usual, your body wants to defend itself. Your body will release endorphins (the happy chemical) to combat the “stress” of your burning mouth.

Therefore, it makes sense that so many people feel happy when they are eating spicy foods. You may even think that some of these spicy food-loving folks have some sort of masochistic personality trait and there is some truth to that. The tolerance that is built up triggers your pain and pleasure receptors.


Once again, if you aren’t interested in spicy foods, here are some other great things about loving the spicy life. There are many health benefits to spicy foods. Your metabolism can speed up after a meal with some hot elements. It actually can increase by up to 8% which of course can curb your appetite.

Spicy foods can potentially combat inflammation as well. Low-grade inflammation in the gut related to obesity can be battled with a reasonable amount of spicy food. However, it is not suggested to have spicy foods if you have ulcers or regular heartburn. 

Of course, your tolerance for spicy food will rise and that is the best benefit if you want to be able to consume spicy foods. Check with your healthcare provider to make sure it is safe if you decide this is something you’re interested in. 

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