Spicy Foods, Tolerance, and Pain : Short Wave Today, we talk about spicy food and its intersection with pleasure and pain as part of our "Taste Buddies" series — Short Wave's ode to "taste." In this episode, Host Emily Kwong talks to food reporter Ruth Tam and researchers Julie Yu and Nadia Byrnes about the science behind our love for spicy foods and what drives some of us to seek out the pain.

Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyKwong1234. You can email Short Wave at ShortWave@NPR.org.

Spice, Spice, Baby! Why Some Of Us Enjoy The Pain Of Spicy Foods

Spice, Spice, Baby! Why Some Of Us Enjoy The Pain Of Spicy Foods

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David Gannon/AFP via Getty Images
Close up image of red and yellow Habanero peppers stacked on top of one another. The right side of the image is primarily red, and the left is primarily yellow.
David Gannon/AFP via Getty Images

Today, we talk about spicy food and its intersection with pleasure and pain as part of our "Taste Buddies" series — Short Wave's ode to "taste." In this episode, Host Emily Kwong talks to food reporter Ruth Tam and researchers Julie Yu and Nadia Byrnes about the science behind our love for spicy foods and what drives some of us to seek out the pain.

Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyKwong1234. You can email Short Wave at ShortWave@NPR.org.

This episode was produced by Thomas Lu, edited by Stephanie O’Neill, and fact checked by Rachel Carlson. The audio engineers were Natasha Branch and Margaret Luthar.