What If You Ate the Hottest Pepper?
Whether it’s a jalapeno, a serrano, or even the infamous ghost pepper, we all have a heat threshold or level of spiciness that we can tolerate. But can anyone handle the Carolina Reaper? And what would happen if you ate it? The Carolina Reaper, a hybrid pepper specifically bred to be as hot as possible, is the current record holder for hottest pepper in the world. The Scoville heat scale is used to measure the spiciness of peppers.
To put things in perspective, a jalapeno comes in at around eight thousand units, a habanero is a blistering three hundred and fifty thousand units, while a Carolina Reaper tops the scale at a whopping two point two million units! So what happens when you eat a pepper this spicy? First, the high concentration of capsaicin, the chemical that causes spiciness in peppers, binds to a nerve receptor in your mouth.
This triggers an intense and extremely painful burning sensation. Obviously there’s no actual heat emanating from the pepper, but your brain is tricked into thinking that your mouth is on fire and that you’re burning up! And since the brain believes you’re overheating, it immediately takes corrective action to flush out the toxin. You’ll experience extreme sweating, accompanied by crying eyes and a runny nose.
You might think it would get better once you start to digest the pepper, but you’d be wrong! The pepper continues to wreak havoc on your insides, resulting in severe pain and nausea that can last for up to eight hours! And while it won’t kill you or cause any permanent damage, there’s not much you can do at that point but suffer and wait it out.
Keep in mind, you can alleviate some of the painful burning in your mouth by drinking milk which contains casein, a protein that neutralizes the pepper’s capsaicin. So think long and hard before biting into one of these super spicy peppers. This bear is just going to have to stick to bell peppers for now.