Friday, 22 June 2001
A 145-151, Wilmslow Road, Rusholme, Manchester, M14 5AW
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Wednesday, 20 June 2001
In the few seconds before the first mouthful of dhansak or madras reaches the mouth, blood pressure soars and the heart starts beating faster. The "natural high" of anticipating and eating curry is so dramatic that some people may physically crave spicy food, according to the study at
Prof Steven Gray, who studied the effects of the dish on 100 volunteers, said bland foods such as fish and chips and pizza failed to trigger a similar reaction. He said: "We find eating curry a physically arousing experience; it provides us with a natural high.
"Our physical curry cravings are linked to tongue stimulation. Curry stimulates more tongue taste receptors than other foods. And even the thought of curry stimulates us."
The largest increases in blood pressure and heart rate were detected when people ate their preferred type of curry, even if their choice was a mild sauce. When lovers of hot curries ate one, for example, their blood pressure rose by four per cent and their heart rate by 18 per cent. When anticipating a hot curry, they increased by four and seven per cent respectively.
But the research, commissioned by the food manufacturer Sharwood's, also found that regular curry eaters had lower blood pressure and a lower heart rate than non-curry eaters. The main factor influencing someone's enjoyment of a curry was not its chilli content or heat, but its taste.
Scientists have shown that capsaicin, which provides the hot ingredient in chillies and peppers, enhances the flavour of food and triggers the release of endorphins, natural painkillers that are linked to addictive behaviour.Source Telegraph