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How to Cool Down Your Mouth After Eating Spicy Food

Updated on October 29, 2012

Meet the Heat Lover!

After living in New Mexico for 6 years and spending 3 of those working in food service, I've enjoyed hot food to excessive limits.

In the process, I learned a few tips and tricks to manage these pains of culinary delight. Some are traditional, others are unusual, but all are vouched by my own personal and professional experience as a waitress in a New Mexican restaurant for 3 years!

The Tongue Tormentors

Don't let these guys do in your day!
Don't let these guys do in your day! | Source

Drink Milk

Apparently, the milk solids in milk can do great things when it comes to cooling your oral fires. Simply order a glass of milk when you request those XXX Heat Enchiladas, and you'll feel better right away!

Eat Dairy

In addition to a nice, cool glass of milk, consider ordering plain yogurt or sour cream, too. The same premise works in these instances, but they can go even further as the simple beverage.

For example, if your curry turns out way too spicy, add a dollop of plain yogurt to your serving and stir. This cuts the killer heat from the source, and will make your nose only run a little bit.

It's kind of like the blue cheese or ranch dressing served with hot wings, but on a simpler scale.

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Sip Lemon-Lime Soda

Many other websites will tell you to eat bread or place ice cubes on your tongue to cool down your mouth after eating spicy foods.

Although these can help in some instances, ice or water very rarely make an impact and the burn of a really hot chile will cut through any amount of bread.

Instead, my secret trick to survive the nuclear levels of heat in my favorite green chile chicken stew was lemon-lime soda. Every time. For one, the combination between savory heat and sweet, tangy soda is very pleasant, and somehow those bubbles strip your palate of the killer flavor.

It's a fantastic go-to cure for hot mouths, and I've used it on countless occasions for both my own needs and those of others!

Soothe the Sear in Restaurants!

Balance Your Plate

There are many ways to decrease the heat in your mouth after eating spicy foods, but many are not direct, significant cures for the condition.

Think about your favorite types of food. In many cuisines, you'll find a soothing, balancing scoop of rice alongside scorching meats and veggies. That helps you eat a nice blend of hot and neutral, which can cut down on the fire.

Anytime you can distribute the burn across your plate, you will cut down on the pain!

The Exception to My Rule...

Want to quell the fires while taking advantage of citrus and alcohol? Follow the lemon-lime soda lead and find a mixed drink recipe that includes it! Problem: conquered!
Want to quell the fires while taking advantage of citrus and alcohol? Follow the lemon-lime soda lead and find a mixed drink recipe that includes it! Problem: conquered! | Source

What Doesn't Work

Although I hate to nay-say potentially good yet subjective advice, I must say that alcohol and citrus very rarely cut the heat for me or my customers.

Alcohol: Some bloggers say that a glass of cold beer can be a major help in times of crisis, and I can vouch that a nice, light beer can be very refreshing. It does not necessarily cut the heat itself, but might be useful if you're of age and have one handy.

Others say that wine is a good beverage to cool your mouth with after eating spicy foods. Personally, wine very rarely helps this problem, and can even cause more distress! Naturally, this all depends on you and your distinct tastebuds, but realize that none of these solutions are one size fits all!

Citrus: Like light beer, citrus can be a wonderfully refreshing addition to any meal and it is a notorious palate cleanser. It may strip away strong flavors, but it does not always remove the burn. If you do try this remedy, be sure to add it to the food -- not to your mouth! That could be cataclysmic!

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    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 4 years ago from India

      Interesting information. We usually use lot of spices especially red hot chillies and chilli powder. It is good to know that milk cools down the mouth after eating chilli.

      Voted up and shared

    • profile image

      Maruf Optimal 4 years ago

      Hot Chilli!! Thanks for your information.

    • rmcleve profile image
      Author

      Rachael Cleveland 4 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

      I love hearing the different cures and solutions to our mouth-burn quandaries! Thanks for all of the feedback, awesome fire-eaters! :)

    • profile image

      tattuwurn 4 years ago

      I also love spicy foods -- (it may be from my ethnic background or because I'm a Scorpio, who are generally known to like spicy dishes). It's the casein in milk that helps to "tone down" the spicy feeling left in the tongue. Thanks for the info. I don't like to drink whole milk tho, so I think a chocolate milk would be nice too. :)

      Voted up and useful. :)

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Nice information. I love spicy food. I can tell you that I eat this everyday. But now I got the solution after eat the spicy food. Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up!

      Prasetio

    • Kris Heeter profile image

      Kris Heeter 4 years ago from Indiana

      Thanks for sharing these tips. I try to avoid spicy food but sometimes when I eat out, I end up with something spicier than anticipated so I'm always looking for tips on how to put out the fire! My first experience with really spicy food was on a blind date. I had not idea what I was ordering and after the first bite my eyes started watering to the point it looked like I was crying. My poor date thought it was him...:)

    • NornsMercy profile image

      Chace 4 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      I know what DOESN'T work but I do it anyway: fanning my face with my hand. :D Whoo!

    • peoplepower73 profile image

      Mike Russo 4 years ago from Placentia California

      If you lick your finger and then dab it in sugar and then put it in your mouth, it will immediately remove the fire and the pain. Also never eat a pepper without having some kind of food in your mouth first to help absorb the heat. (Advice from a Mexican friend of mine.) Voting up, useful and sharing.

    • brblog profile image

      Bruce 4 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

      If you have it handy, ice cream is also good - you have the milk thing going plus it is really cold.

    • joanwz profile image

      Joan Whetzel 4 years ago from Katy, Texas

      Great tips. Like you, I love spicy foods but the afterburn is a bit of an annoyance. Thanks for the advice.

    • learner365 profile image

      Saadia A 4 years ago

      I am a fan of spicy food and i am sure your tips will come in handy when things will get out of my hand :) Thanks for sharing.

      Voted up and useful!!!

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      I enjoy spicy food a little more than I should. These tips will help me enjoy the food more.

    • prektjr.dc profile image

      Debbie Carey 4 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA

      As a fellow New Mexican, another tip that works is to bite into a tomato and let the juice sit in your mouth for a moment and the acid will cut the fire immediately! Crazy, but it works every time! Good hub! Voted up, useful and interesting!

    • rmcleve profile image
      Author

      Rachael Cleveland 5 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

      Love it! The burn lets you know you're eating something good.

    • IOwn profile image

      IOwn 5 years ago from My laptop in the UK

      why cool your mouth down.... FEEL THE BURN!! haha

    • rmcleve profile image
      Author

      Rachael Cleveland 5 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

      Thanks, teaches! Great to see you again, too. :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      When you get a bite of something really spicy hot, you reach for the water. It may do the trick, but most likely not as well as a glass of milk. Great post and very informative.

    • rmcleve profile image
      Author

      Rachael Cleveland 5 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

      You're welcome, always exploring! Milk is great. I think lemon-lime soda is a little bit better! Let your son know all the capsaicin from spicy foods is great for him!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I'm not into hot or spicy foods but my son is. Nice to know milk is a cool downer..Interesting topic..Thank's..

    • rmcleve profile image
      Author

      Rachael Cleveland 5 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

      It'll help! Do you eat a lot of spicy food?

    • rmcleve profile image
      Author

      Rachael Cleveland 5 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

      Aw! Cayenne overdoses seem to fare best with milk, as do many other forms of killer spice invasion.

    • rmcleve profile image
      Author

      Rachael Cleveland 5 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

      Wow! I'd never heard anything about chocolate. My go-to is the lemon-lime soda, but hey, love me some chocolate, too! Thanks for the feedback. :)

    • rmcleve profile image
      Author

      Rachael Cleveland 5 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

      Thank you! I love crackers, so I'm sold. Cheezits count, right? :)

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. I drank many-a gallons of milk while my daughter was learning to cook.

    • innerspin profile image

      innerspin 5 years ago from uk

      I read this as our elder son is spice crazy, and sometimes regrets his choices. I was expecting to see chocolate on here, he finds it helpful....or maybe it's just an excuse to eat more chocolate. Will let him know about sugar, thanks.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      You know what else works? Eating crackers--any kind, from soda to graham to Japanese arare rice crackers to whatever.

      Very interesting and well-written Hub. You are certainly a credit to the HubsPages Apprenticeship Program, and I'm honored to follow and be followed by you.

      Aloha!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Interesting! Back when I drank I would use any excuse to drink a cold beer....now I guess I'll have to settle for milk.