This article from NPR will be interesting to any chili pepper fans, and to anybody who has enjoyed drinking coffee on a hot day.
“The hot drink somehow has an effect on your systemic cooling mechanisms, which exceeds its actual effect in terms of heating your body,” says McNaughton.
It’s a look at why Indians drink hot tea, because you know, it’s hot there. Why wouldn’t they drink cold water or a soda? Hot drinks on a hot day seem strange to folks in the US; I like to hike with a cup of coffee, even on a hot day, and folks regularly tell me that’s strange.
These TRPV1 receptors respond to hot heat, but they also respond to chemicals in chili peppers, which is why chili peppers seem hot.
Indians also tend to be into hot foods. I’ve heard this theory before, that chili peppers make you sweat and cool you down. Perhaps that’s true, or perhaps once you’re already hot you’re just better at handling more heat. Peppers have a lot of flavor (and when you eat enough they can definitely make you feel good), and I think that’s enough reason to eat them, regardless of any small cooling effect.