The Spice Of Life: People Who Like Spicy Food Are More Adventurous

by Lauren Martin

She’s bold, like cayenne pepper. He's bitter, like bad coffee. She's bland, like bread.

What you eat says a lot about you. Whether you’re picky or adventurous, what you eat, like what you believe and what you listen to, is more than telling of your personality than what you say.

What you decide to try, taste and devour is indicative of who you are as a person. What you pick and choose to digest, ingest and throw out the other side is not just telling, but all encompassing.

Because food is such a huge part of our lives, how can it not become an extension of our personality? How can the things we choose to eat not be indicative of the mouths we’re putting them into?

The food we surround ourselves with, order around others and delve into at our weakest moments are all colorful representations of our desires and personalities.

Our palates form like our identity, shaping around experiences from our childhood and throughout adulthood. Every flavor, taste and texture sets a precedent and molds our ever-evolving landscape of preferences and cravings.

So, does the way we eat shape our personality or does our personality shape the way we eat? Are people who eat spicier food really spicier? Are those who refuse to try new foods really more ignorant? Are picky eaters also just pickier people?

According to researchers at Penn State University, personality does indeed correlate with food preference. And those who like spicy food really are more bold.

The study, presented at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologies annual meeting, correlated a preference for spicy food with high risk-taking behaviors.

Using 200 participants between the ages of 18 to 45, the researchers tested a person's preference for risk seeking and adventurous behavior to their preference for spice.

Using Arnett’s Inventory of Sensation Seeking (AISS) test -- one that determines one’s level of risk taking behavior -- they surveyed the participants first on their preferences to thrill.

The questions included things like listening to loud music, watching highly suspenseful movies, public speaking, gambling and standing on the edge of something high and looking down.

Their results were compared to their preferences for spicy food. Unsurprisingly, those who scored higher on the AISS test had higher preferences for spicier foods. Those who enjoyed the thrills of risks and adventure were partial to the peppers and spicy sauces of life.

And it makes sense. If you know people who prefer spicy food, you know they are no piece of stale bread. They are the people who always have intriguing stories to go along with their side of extra spicy sauce.

They are the ones who always have plans and adventures lined up, each one stemming from a new dish they are about to dive into. They are the ones who are never content with what they've had, but what's next. No flavor, risk or challenge is too bold.

It just goes to show, we are what we eat and some people are just spicier than others.

They’re never content with the same order

Life isn't about being content with the norm, but constantly challenging it. There are two types of people in this world: the ones who are comforted by monotony and the ones who crave change.

For the spice connoisseurs, eating the same food night after night is like traveling to the same place over and over again. Though they may like something the first time, it doesn’t mean there isn’t something out there that could be even better, even spicier.

For them, it's always about pushing the envelope. It's about the spicier dish, the boldest flavor and the newest discovery. It's about the next best thing, the hotter flavor.

Variety is the spice of their lives

Those with a flair for spicy food have that extra flair for life. They find no passion in the ordinary and no excitement in the average. They are thrill seekers and dare devils.

They test limits and push boundaries because nothing will ever be enough. No food will ever placate their wandering palates and no spice will ever be hot enough.

Spicy food isn’t just about the taste, but what that taste represents. It’s a jolt, a shock, an awakening. In the midst of monotony, spicy foods add that bit of heat that life can many times be missing.

They crave high risk factors

Dr. Alan Hirsch of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation told NCB news that those who eat spicy food are prone to the same "adrenaline deficiencies" feelings that risk takers are.

It's their constant search for that adrenaline rush that makes them jump off cliffs, travel the world and eat all that spicy food.

They know what they are getting into when they bite into a chili pepper. They understand what comes with ordering the spiciest curry or eating the “house special” at a New Delhi restaurant. They do it for the thrill.

They do it to see what they can withstand, what they can endure and what they can come to love.

Photo Courtesy: Daniel Sawyer Schaefer