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Why Pepper Makes Us Sneeze

Burning Question: Why Does Pepper Make You Sneeze?

I've got an undeniable affinity for all things spicy, and I put freshly ground black pepper on just about everything. But without fail, when I season a dish with salt and pepper, I resist the great urge to sneeze. Pepper makes me sneeze so much that merely looking at the picture has me thinking a sneeze is coming on! So why does pepper prompt such a strong physical reaction? As it turns out, the piquant flavor that we love so much in pepper is also the reason why the spice makes us sneeze. Pepper contains piperine, a fiery irritant that inflames the nerve endings that reside inside our noses. Sneezing is an innate reflex reaction to this chemical in pepper, as a way to rid your nasal passages of this compound.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 8 years
the smell of fresh ground pepper is one of the happiest ever :) Bliss makes this really yummy and interesting-scented blood orange and white pepper lotion... sweet and spicy at the same time! http://www.sephora.com/browse/product.jhtml;jsessionid=M2O5NFRCVONMECV0KRTQIGQ?id=P218710&categoryId=RPYMAL&navAction=jump
c4rolin3 c4rolin3 8 years
mamasitamali- i feel the same!!! i put pepper on everything, and experiment with different types of peppercorn too :) yum yum x
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 8 years
I am so in love with pepper, I think my sneezes finally came around too :) I won't sneeze anymore and I put pepper on basically everything
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