GOOD

Why Do Humans Love Spicy Food?

An illustrated guide to our favorite indulgence.

Since the dawn of humanity, food has been an integral part of our culture. But even though kale and the açaí seem particularly trendy right now, spicy food remains supreme in its ability to outlast food fads.

Whether we’re talking about mustard seeds or “rooster sauce” (found in everything from potato chips to sweet and spicy yogurt), an awful lot of us keep hot sauce in our proverbial bags. What’s more, there seems to be a biological reason why humans are drawn so strongly to spicy foods, which might be why we have yet to reach peak Sriracha.


But why do some of us like it so hot? And what other foods have obsessed us through the ages? Let's find out in the timeline above.

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