We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Drinking Water Doesn’t Help with Spicy Food—Here’s Why

A plate of spicy buffalo wings sit next to celery, carrots, and bleu cheese.
Ratov Maxim/Shutterstock.com

Whether you’re enjoying some extra hot buffalo wings, viral spicy ramen, or your uncle’s famous five-alarm chili, there’s no denying that, as a society, we like to keep it spicy. Of course, everyone has their limit, and you might think grabbing a cold glass of water would do the trick. But think again.

Unfortunately, water doesn’t help with spicy food and could even make things worse.

While nothing might sound better than a sip of water when your mouth is on fire, it will actually do nothing but cause the burn to grow.

The thing that makes food “hot” is capsaicin. The higher the capsaicin levels in something, the spicier it will feel on your tongue. Drinking water after eating something very spicy will cause the capsaicin to spread, boosting the burning sensation all over your mouth.

TRUFF Original Black Truffle Hot Sauce

You can enjoy a little heat when you know how to extinguish it quickly!

Unfortunately, drinking a beer will offer the same result since it’s mostly water. So, what should you reach for instead? Try a glass of milk, some sour cream or yogurt, or even a scoop of ice cream to douse the flames on your tongue.

The fat content in milk is what “traps” and dissolves capsaicin, stopping it from spreading and creating a cooling sensation. Plus, who doesn’t want some ice cream after eating something hot?

In addition to reaching for the nearest dairy product, carbs can also help. Things like bread, rice, and pasta will essentially “soak up” the spice. They might not work as quickly as a glass of milk, but when your mouth feels like the surface of the sun, every little bit helps.

Stacey Koziel Stacey Koziel
Stacey Koziel is a news writer at LifeSavvy. She's worked as a freelance writer for over ten years, focusing on family and lifestyle content. She also has a background in marketing and social media, and is always eager to talk (and write!) about the latest TikTok trends. Read Full Bio »
LifeSavvy is focused on a single goal: helping you make the most informed purchases possible. Want to know more?