In hot weather, we often gravitate towards cool and refreshing foods like ice cream, cucumbers, and watermelon. In many of the world's warmest regions, however, the food itself is fiery. Think Indian curry, spicy Thai soup, and Jamaican jerk. For one, these are places where chile peppers grow. And some say that hot foods actually cool you down.
Sitting over a bowl of steaming soup or crying from the bite of a hot pepper might not seem like the most intuitive way to spend a summer day, but foods that are hot in spice or temperature may actually cool the body by increasing blood circulation and perspiration. Sweating releases heat ... but how long does this effect last? And is it worth it, or would you rather eat a popsicle?
Just the thought of hot tea or spicy curry makes us sweat, but we like the idea of dishes such as Cool and Spicy Fish and Cucumber Salad and peppery-yet-refreshing beverages like West African Ginger Drink. Do you enjoy hot and spicy food this time of year? If so, what are some of your favorite dishes?
Related: Food Science: What Makes Chile Peppers Spicy?
(Image: Flickr member geoftheref licensed under Creative Commons)