Chili peppers are so spicy because they contain special chemical compounds called capsaicinoids. They are made up of two parts, called capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin, which vary in amounts in different peppers that vary the heat of the pepper’s spice. It is soluble in fats and oils, but not water. Capsaicinoids are good for metabolism and may prevent ulcers.
The other answer is correct, it is capsaicinoids that give hot peppers the ‘hot’ name. The interesting thing to note is that there no actual heat and high temperature involved or any damage to tissues (such as a burn). These chemicals just happen to activate the neuron receptors in humans (and other mammals) that usually react to heat above 43C and abrasion.
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