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Five Minute Monday – The Science of Spiciness

This weeks’ Five Minute Monday feature explains how peppers work. For instance, I learned that the pain you feel from a spicy pepper is the same sensation as the pain you feel from food that is too hot. It’s the same receptors activating (polymodal nociceptor), and your brain just gets the message that something hot has hit your mouth. There are also nociceptors for the cool sensations caused by menthol.

And even more than that,¬†there is a different type of spiciness in hot peppers than exists in something like horseradish. The hot peppers contain a “heavier molecule” that burns your mouth, while the horseradish contains a “lighter molecule” that travels to your nose as you breathe and burns your nose. Did not know that.

Once again, as Ted-Ed consistently does, it’s well narrated, well animated and informative. Maybe Five Minute Monday needs to become Ted-Ed Monday, or I need to start looking for new sources of videos.

But I can’t complain. It’s less than 5 minutes, interesting and informative.


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