4. You can build up a tolerance
Think you’re just too British to change your food tastes? Think again. You weren’t necessarily born this way, according to Dr Farrimond.
“Many people presume that jalapeno-loving Mexicans are born with an ability to eat more chillies than their North American neighbours – but there is no biological or genetic reason for these different cuisines. Tolerance for spice comes down to training. Regularly eating small amounts of chilli will gradually increase your tolerance to chilli heat and make it more pleasant. With repeated exposure, you teach your brain that these hot mouth sensations are not harmful, and over time the pain nerves in your tongue change their internal chemistry to become less sensitive to capsaicin.”
But a word of caution (especially if you have a sensitive stomach)
Chillies have long been blamed for causing stomach ulcers, and many professionals still advise that anyone with a ‘sensitive’ stomach should avoid chillies. BUT science shows us that the opposite is actually true and chillies protect us from stomach ulcers if eaten regularly, points out Dr Farrimond. Capsaicin makes the stomach lining produce less acid and create more defensive mucus.