Spicy Foods: Why They’re So Hot

by | Updated: April 11th, 2017 | Read time: 3 minutes

Want to heat things up? You’re not alone. Bold and fiery flavors are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S.

Spicy Foods: Why They're So Hot

What’s causing the heatwave?

Countries such as Mexico, Thailand and India have incorporated spices in their cuisine for centuries. But here in the United States, we’ve generally turned to milder ingredients, which begs the question: Why are folks getting all fired up about spicy foods now?

Changing demographics, increased international travel and Gen Y’s penchant for culinary adventure have all played a role in America’s Spice Revolution. So has the rise of the home cook—thanks, in large part, to TV shows, the internet and celebrity chefs who really know their chilies.

We now have easier access to spicy ingredients, and repeated exposure to powerful products like Asian Sriracha and Chinese chili oil have us clamoring for more. Plus, capsaicin found in spicy foods triggers the release of endorphins (happy chemicals) in the brain, and many have come to realize that tossing in a few peppers is a great way to boost flavor without adding fat and calories.

Want to feel the burn?

Here are a few of our favorite quick and fiery foods to help spice up your afternoon:

Late July Red Hot Mojo Snack Chips. The only thing better than a spicy snack is one that’s spicy, crunchy and free of gluten, GMOs, artificial colors, cholesterol and trans fats. Packed with chia seeds and whole grains, you will be ecstatic that you have these scorching hot chips on hand the next time hunger strikes!

Want to turn up the heat? Pair these chips with low-fat, fiber-rich Eden Foods Organic Spicy Refried Black Beans (also perfect in burritos, bontanas and quesadillas) and you’ll have a five-alarm fire on your palate!

Mary’s Gone Crackers Organic Gluten- Free Hot n’ Spicy Jalapeno Crispy Crackers. If “the hotter, the better” is your mantra, you’re going to love these fiery, flavorful, whole-grain crackers! Packed with the intense jalapeño heat you crave, this spicy snack staple doesn’t contain any dairy, soy or wheat, making it a smart and satisfying snack selection.

Craving even more fire power? Top these delicious, nutritious crackers with pepper jack cheese (or opt for the Eden Foods Black Beans above if you’re keeping it vegan).

Good Earth Sweet & Spicy Caffeine-Free Herbal Tea. Every heat seeker should sample this unique and exciting caffeine-free rooibos red tea, which doesn’t contain any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Bursts of bright, sweet orange flavor suddenly transform into satisfying spice that will leave you longing for your next sip. Enjoy it hot or cold—the choice is yours!

Helpful hint: Can’t stand the heat? Don’t turn on the faucet. Water will only make it worse. Instead, guzzle a glass of good ol’ milk or choose another dairy product like sour cream, yogurt, cheese, butter or even ice cream to help alleviate the pain. Don’t do dairy? Indulge in a spoonful of sugar or suck on a lemon wedge. Both should calm the burn in no time.