If you've ever dived mouth-first into a pile of extra-spicy buffalo wings (and we know that you have), then you're probably painfully aware of that sweaty, tearful, mouth-on-fire moment when you realize you've exceeded your tolerance for heat. We've all been there in the pursuit of eating delicious wings and other spicy foods, and we've all learned the hard way that guzzling a glass of ice water does little to extinguish the flames on your tongue.
But have you ever wondered why good ol' H2O -- of all things -- is the worst choice, and milk is the best choice, when you're feeling the burn? A new video from the American Chemical Society points to a substance found in peppers called capsaicin, and explains the basic chemistry behind how water does little to remove the capsaicin molecules from your mouth's pain receptors while milk actually helps wash them away. Just don't mention this to the Water Boy.
But the pain could come with some benefits, considering capsaicin is also incredibly good for your health, according to scientists. Regardless of your tolerance for spicy food-induced pain, you should probably keep some milk on hand when you bite into a freaking ghost pepper.
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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and thinks a pile of delicious buffalo wings are 100% worth the burn. Send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.