Why from sharp hot, and from mint cold?
We know how to distinguish between five tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, as well as the taste of minds – protein food (the characteristic carrier of this taste is glutamy acid). But the control of receptors over the content of what falls into the stomach is not limited to. Thus, the temperature receptors of the oral cavity register the appropriate changes if the food temperature is lower or above 37 ° C (cold receptors are operating in one case, in the other – thermal).
How it works, you can understand the example of skin receptors. By registering the change in the ambient temperature, they launch adaptive physiological reactions: in the heat of a person expands skin blood capillaries, sweat, in the cold, on the contrary, "goosebumps run", that is, skin muscles are reduced, lifting hair on the body. The excitation of temperature receptors in the oral cavity may result in similar consequences, and the severity of the effect will depend on the amount of active substance.
When we use acute food, the sensations will be similar to heat due to capsaicin – a burning compound that includes chili pepper. Capsaicin is able to bind to special receptors (TRPV1), which are at the end of temperature and pain sensitive neurons. With small concentrations of capsaicin there is a feeling of heat, and with high – burning pain and the corresponding physiological response is developing. Such an effect of capsaicin is used not only in cooking, but also in medicine – for example, in the manufacture of various warming ointments.
As for the "cooling" action of mint, it is created by menthol – one of the organic substances derived from the plants of the Clanotkov family (Lamiaceae), mainly peppermint. The characteristic cooling effect of menthol is due, in particular, activating sensitive neurons through special "cold" receptors (TRPM8 and TRPA1). Menthol not only causes a cold feeling, but also helps to reduce the growth of malignant cells and has an anesthetic effect. Various extracts from peppermint contain menthol as the main active ingredient and are used for centuries as traditional medicines for the treatment of many diseases, including various infections, insomnia and irritable colon syndrome.
There is an opinion that residents of Asia and, for example, Greenland perceive the same tastes and smells in different ways. "My Planet" found out from the expert, is it.