How to Get Used to Spicy Food

How To Get Used To Spicy Food: Tested & Proven Guide

Last Updated on June 15, 2024 by Shari Mason

Many folks around the world adore **spicy dishes**, but sometimes the heat feels like a dragon’s breath!

For those who are new, it can be difficult to get used to the sensation, but with a little bit of practice, you can eventually build your tolerance for eating spicy food.

We will discuss ten proven ways how to get used to spicy food without overwhelming your mouth and taste buds.  

10 Proven Ways To Get Used to Spicy Food 

1. Begin With Mildly Spicy Food

Ramen on a Bowl

Eating mildly spicy foods or foods with hot sauces is a great start to building your tolerance without completely stepping out of your comfort zone.

You can add a few dashes of black pepper, slices of chili pepper, or pinches of red pepper flakes to your favorite meal and get your taste buds accustomed to the heat until it is no longer kicking.


2. Increase the Heat Eventually

You can gradually increase the heat level of your already-hot food and challenge yourself to get used to the stronger pain signals.

You can either add a few slices of hot peppers like the Poblano, Anaheim, or Jalapeno pepper or pour Tabasco sauces all over your ketchup. As you intensify your hot foods, this will help increase your spicy food tolerance effectively.

Read: Is The Pollo Asado At Chipotle Spicy?

3. Eat Spicy Food Slowly

If you think the added chili peppers and spices are too much to handle, you must eat slowly. It allows your mouth and taste buds to rest and cool down—slowing down the burning sensation.

This is not a race! Speeding things up when eating hot food will only spell discomfort, which can be unbearable for an extended period due to the chemical compounds called capsaicin.

4. Try to Eat Something Spicy Every Week

If you eat spicy foods or foods that go with hot sauce weekly, the more your mouth and taste buds become accustomed to the heat until you start to enjoy them regularly.

You may not even notice since it’ll be likely in your system, but you may start seeking spicier foods since what was once moderately spicy has now become milder.

5. Savor the Flavor

The secret for you to enjoy spicy foods is focusing your taste buds on the ingredients of the used fresh spices instead of the burning feeling.

“My favorite time of day is to get up and eat leftovers from dinner, especially spicy food.”

David Byrne, Singer/Songwriter

You can take Indian and Chinese food as an example. They are known for their spicy dishes, however, their meal is bursting with dynamic flavors of different spices which you can enjoy. 

Thus you should always look forward to the taste of the dish rather than the sensation.

6. Prepare Coolants on Hand

Since not everyone can handle the capsaicin compounds on their tongue very well, keeping a natural coolant for your body when a burning sensation arises is always best.

Drinking water will not alleviate the heat. Instead, take dairy products such as whole milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, coconut milk, and sour cream. 

These food products contain fats that can absorb and dissolve capsaicin compounds.

7. Take Antacid Ahead of Time

hands holding medicine tablet

You shouldn’t eat spicy foods on an empty stomach since they generally use ingredients with a high acid content, which can cause an upset stomach or heartburn.

Thus it is recommended to take antacids ahead of time to prevent these kinds of discomfort from occurring.

8. Eat Snacks To Distract Your Mouth From Spice

Eating other foods can help distract your mouth from the spice due to the new flavor it was introduced to.

You should do this when eating hot food that’s beyond your spicy food tolerance. This is simply a hack that leads your taste buds to focus on the other food and ditch the heat.

9. Breathe Through Your Mouth

Breathing the heat out in between bites helps your mouth to cool down, preventing the constant painful burn from building up.

If you just clamp down and let the roof of your mouth touch your tongue, it will intensify the painful burn to a greater degree. 

10. Don’t Force It

If you want to enjoy spicy food while increasing your tolerance, just take what your body can only manage.

If it’s really beyond your spicy food tolerance, don’t force it, especially when dealing with hot peppers that rank high on the Scoville Scale, like the Ghost pepper and Carolina Reaper. Doing so will only take you one step closer to danger.


u003cstrongu003eIs spice tolerance genetic?u003c/strongu003e

Yes, some people are genetically born with fewer pain receptors or nerve cells, TRPV1, which the capsaicin binds to when eating hot foods. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eAs a result, they are less capable of tasting or feeling the spiciness the capsaicin-containing food originally has u003ca href=u0022[1]u003c/au003e.

u003cstrongu003eHow long will it take to get used to spicy food?u003c/strongu003e

There is no specific timeframe, but as you condition yourself by eating spicy foods often, you’ll get used to it in no time—perhaps after a week or within a month.  

u003cstrongu003eHow do I increase my spice tolerance?u003c/strongu003e

You can increase it by eating mildly spicy foods once every week. Once you get used to the mild heat of the spicy dish, you can gradually increase the heat level.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eYou can add different spices and peppers directly to the dish or your hot sauces for your pizza until you’re challenged again.

u003cstrongu003eWhy can’t I get used to spicy food?u003c/strongu003e

The reason why you can’t get used to spicy food easily is that you have many heat receptors. The more heat receptors you have in your tongue, the more burning pain you are likely to feel in your body. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eFurthermore, it can be a medical condition called Hyperalgesia in which the receptors in your tongue are too sensitive to handle the heat.

u003cstrongu003eHow can I eat spicy food without pain?u003c/strongu003e

You can drink milk or other fat-containing dairy products. You can take them after eating or in between bites of a hot dish to flush the spiciness away.

u003cstrongu003eHow do you handle spicy food better?u003c/strongu003e

Aside from milk, you can consume foods rich in carbs like rice, bread, or potatoes as they absorb and create a protective barrier against capsaicin to bind to your receptors.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eFurthermore, you can alleviate the spice by eating or drinking acidic foods such as lemon, vinegar, tomatoes, and more u003ca href=u0022[2]u003c/au003e.

In Conclusion

Not everyone has started eating spicy foods at such a young age to have become used to them, but that doesn’t mean we can no longer build our tolerance to start enjoying them now. 

You can follow this guide if you want to enjoy spicy foods as you should. You just have to eat or drink dairy products, acidic foods, and foods rich in carbs to cool down the burning sensation. 


Shari Mason

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