When you take a bite of a hot pepper, your body reacts as if your mouth is on fire – because that’s essentially what you’ve told your brain by activating certain sensory neurons called polymodal nociceptors.
That’s the reason why our heart beats faster and we start to sweat if we eat spicy food. In the same way, but heading for the opposite direction, eating menthol simulates coldness to our brain.
The standard measure of a food’s spiciness is its rating on the Scoville scale
, which measures how much its capsaicin content can be diluted before the heat is no longer detectable to humans. A sweet bell pepper gets 0 Scoville heat units, while Tabasco sauce clocks in between 1,200-2,400 units. The two hottest peppers of the world are the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion
and the Carolina Reaper
. These peppers measure between 1.5 and 2 million Scoville heat units,
which is about half the units found in pepper spray.
Source: Get more knowledge at Ted-Ed