Scientists confirm the best (and worst) thing to drink after a curry

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
Scientists have found the best drink to soothe your mouth after curry. [Photo: Getty]

Tucking into a spicy curry is one of the great pleasures of life.

However, it can quickly escalate from a pleasant meal to a mouth-burning discomfort.

Now, scientists have revealed just what to drink to quell the hot sensation – and what to avoid.

Researchers at Penn State University, Pennsylvania, asked 72 participants to drink a spicy Bloody Mary cocktail containing capsaicin, the same spice-inducing compound found in chilli peppers.

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Afterwards, they tested seven different drinks to see which one most significantly reduced the burning sensation – and which one had the least useful effect.

So what’s the verdict?

What to drink after curry

You can thank anyone who’s ever told you to drink milk with your curry, as the researchers found this is the best remedy.

Milk proved the number one post-curry beverage – with scientists finding both whole milk and skimmed milk proved equally effective at tackling the burn,.

“We weren't surprised that our data suggest milk is the best choice to mitigate burn, but we didn't expect skim milk to be as effective at reducing the burn as whole milk," said lead researcher Alissa Nolden.

This was believed to be down to the presence of a protein, known as casein, in milk.

"That appears to mean that the fat context of the beverage is not the critical factor and suggests the presence of protein may be more relevant than lipid content,” Nolden added.

Kool-Aid, a flavoured drink mix popular in the US, came a close second for reducing the burn.

The drinks which performed the worst at reducing the burn were non-alcoholic beer, cola and carbonated water.

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“Beverages with carbonation such as beer, soda and seltzer water predictably performed poorly at reducing the burn of capsaicin,' adds Nolden.

Although alcoholic drinks were not tested in the experiment, Nolden speculated that these would proved the least effective for counteracting the curry burn.

“If the beer tested would have contained alcohol, it would have been even worse because ethanol amplifies the sensation,” she said.