What Can Douse the Heat of Spicy Food?

Here's exactly what to reach for the next time you have a burning mouth.

Q: Mouth on fire! What can douse the heat of spicy food?

Oz Says: Grab a glass of milk. There's a chemical in hot peppers called capsaicin, and an alarm sounds when it lands on nerve endings in your tongue. Dairy products contain casein, a protein that binds to the capsaicin on those receptors and washes it away, say researchers from the New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper Institute (not making that up). Whatever you do, don't reach for water or booze. They'll just wash the heat around in your mouth without snuffing it out. If milk isn't at hand, breads and sugary foods also dial down the heat — just not as well.

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No milk nearby? Sour cream and ice cream can rescue you too.

This story originally appeared in the January/February 2017 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.

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