You Should Never Drink Water After Eating Spicy Food. Here's Why

For some people, spicy food equates to a mild buffalo wing dunked in ranch dressing, and then downed with a bottle of water. You know the ones — paused between bites with a bead of sweat dripping down their forehead because the sweet n' spicy sauce pushed the envelope just a bit too far.

For others, spicy means working their way through the daunting heat levels of the Scoville Scale on an episode of "Hot Ones" and trying to not get sick after downing yet another Carolina Reaper hot pepper. Even the most well-versed Scoville survivors tend to cling onto the comfort of a water bottle when snacking on something spicy, as if a measly 16 ounces of Poland Springs will resurrect a set of taste buds from the fiercest of feasts.

But here's the twist — when it comes to spicy food, water is not the answer after all.

Water won't put out the fire in your mouth

Even if you're not going to down a ghost pepper anytime soon, you may want to take some notes. All spicy foods, including the milder options, get their heat from a chemical compound known as capsaicin. The American Chemical Society explains that capsaicin seeks out the pain receptors in your mouth and sticks to them, leading to a burning sensation that seems impossible to relinquish. Because capsaicin is a non-polar substance, trying to alleviate that pain with water is a bit of a moot point. Since water itself is polar, it will not be able to dissolve the capsaicin, leaving you teary-eyed for longer than you might like (via LifeHacker).

While it's generally agreed that water won't solve your spicy food woes, many insist that it won't hurt the situation, either — you just won't feel any added relief once you take a swig. Others, however, argue that water will actually make a fiery situation that much worse, since it's been said that swishing water around in your mouth actually spreads the capsaicin to more pain receptors. One Quora user explains that "the only thing water does to capsaicin is nudge it around," so it may be better to ditch the Dasani and find another option instead.

Yet again, milk does a body good

The good news is there is a beverage that can simmer most spices: milk. According to Food Network, milk is one of the best options to cool down your mouth after a spicy meal. Milk contains a protein known as casein, which helps separate the capsaicin from the pain receptors in your mouth and washes it away.

Food Network notes that any dairy product should work, as long as it contains casein. You can even grab a pint of ice cream out of the freezer to cool off your palate after a plate of hot wings — just opt for something based with whole milk over fat-free, since the healthy fats help break down the chemical compounds that triggered the reaction. We can't speak for the flavor combo of Ben and Jerry's and fiery buffalo sauce, but that ranch dressing you have next to your wings could do the trick and taste a bit better.