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Can You Handle the Heat? New Wendy’s Offerings Feature Ghost Peppers

Can You Handle the Heat? New Wendy’s Offerings Feature Ghost Peppers


Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich and Ghost Pepper Fries are available at participating Wendy’s for a limited time

Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich features Wendy’s Spicy Chicken and is topped with diced jalapeños, ghost pepper sauce, and a red jalapeño bun.

Wendy’s introduces two new menu items that, according to the brand, were almost too spicy to make it onto the menu.

Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich and Ghost Pepper Fries are “made especially for those with fire-proof [palates],” according to a press release.

Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich starts off with Wendy’s spicy chicken and is topped with diced jalapeños, ghost pepper sauce, Colby pepper jack cheese, red onion, and a red jalapeño bun. The Ghost Pepper Fries are topped with a cheese sauce, diced jalapeños, shredded Cheddar cheese, and a ghost pepper sauce.

“The Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich and Ghost Pepper Fries are both great examples of what makes Wendy's so deliciously different,” said Kurt Kane, Wendy's chief concept and marketing officer. “Both of these products are game-changers because the heat and spice are intense, while the flavor combination is truly craveable.”

Both offerings are available for a limited time at participating Wendy’s. The sandwich has a suggested price of $4.99, and $1.99 for the fries.

Think you know Wendy’s? Check out our list of 20 things you (probably) didn’t know.


Is It Dangerous to Eat Really Hot Peppers?

Read this before you attempt the ALS Pepper Challenge.

It’s standard for spicy food to cause your upper lip to sweat, your nose to run, and your mouth to feel like it’s on fire. But can eating hot peppers mess with your health post-meal? The question is worth considering, especially as the ALS Pepper Challenge (AKA the Ice Bucket Challenge 2.0) gains popularity.

Stars like Kelly Clarkson and Shaquille O’Neal have been spotted swallowing spicy stuff for the challenge, which aims to raise awareness and funds for the neurodegenerative disease. But while we watched them struggle to chomp on crazy hot peppers, we couldn’t help but wonder: What makes chilies so darn fiery and are they even safe to nosh on in excess? Here, we pepper nutritionist Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, with all our burning questions. Read the below before you eat a heap of haba༞ros.

What makes peppers so hot?

The main compound that gives chilies their signature kick is a phytonutrient called capsaicin. �psaicin attaches to the receptors on the taste buds that detect temperature and sends signals of spicy heat to the brain,” explains Bazilian, who’s also the author of Eat Clean, Stay Lean.

The amount of heat a pepper packs has to do with the level of capsaicin it contains. To figure out how spicy a certain type of hot pepper is, adventurous eaters can refer to the Scoville scale, which ranks varieties from most to least spicy based on their capsaicin concentration. The scale ranges from standard bell peppers that have no capsaicin to ghost peppers and the Trinidad scorpion–the spiciest chilies around.

Dangers of eating hot peppers

“It’s a bit of a myth that hot peppers can actually create physical damage to the esophagus or tongue,” says Bazilian. But that doesn’t mean there are no dangers associated with noshing on fiery foods. Why? When we eat very hot peppers, the brain receives "pain" signals that can result in an upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting, says Bazilian. The stomach reacts as if you&aposve consumed a toxic substance and works to release whatever was just eaten–i.e. spicy peppers–stat.

“If vomiting occurs, the acid that comes up from the stomach can irritate the esophagus,” explains Bazilian. Depending how hot a pepper is, that irritation can cause serious damage. Back in October 2016, one man actually burned a hole in his esophagus after consuming (and subsequently retching) ghost peppers during an eating contest. Other potential reactions to eating super-spicy peppers include numbness and breathing difficulties.

Health benefits of hot peppers

To complicate things, eating hot peppers can also deliver health benefits. Research suggests that certain capsaicin-rich ingredients, like cayenne pepper, can help eaters slim down by curbing appetite and revving the body’s calorie-burning abilities. What’s more, cayenne has also been shown to help clear sinuses, ease pain, and curb the growth of some bacteria.

To reap the benefits of hot peppers, choose varieties that aren’t too high on the Scoville scale and consume them in tasty meals, rather than straight up. “This way the impact on the tongue, esophagus, and stomach is less, too,” says Bazilian.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for theHealthy Living newsletter

And if you’re planning on entering a hot pepper eating contest or taking the ALS Pepper Challenge, remember this: “When we consume things that aren’t appetizing to us and in quantities that are unreasonable, the possibility for adverse outcomes and discomfort are very real,” says Bazilian. Consider yourself warned.


Is It Dangerous to Eat Really Hot Peppers?

Read this before you attempt the ALS Pepper Challenge.

It’s standard for spicy food to cause your upper lip to sweat, your nose to run, and your mouth to feel like it’s on fire. But can eating hot peppers mess with your health post-meal? The question is worth considering, especially as the ALS Pepper Challenge (AKA the Ice Bucket Challenge 2.0) gains popularity.

Stars like Kelly Clarkson and Shaquille O’Neal have been spotted swallowing spicy stuff for the challenge, which aims to raise awareness and funds for the neurodegenerative disease. But while we watched them struggle to chomp on crazy hot peppers, we couldn’t help but wonder: What makes chilies so darn fiery and are they even safe to nosh on in excess? Here, we pepper nutritionist Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, with all our burning questions. Read the below before you eat a heap of haba༞ros.

What makes peppers so hot?

The main compound that gives chilies their signature kick is a phytonutrient called capsaicin. �psaicin attaches to the receptors on the taste buds that detect temperature and sends signals of spicy heat to the brain,” explains Bazilian, who’s also the author of Eat Clean, Stay Lean.

The amount of heat a pepper packs has to do with the level of capsaicin it contains. To figure out how spicy a certain type of hot pepper is, adventurous eaters can refer to the Scoville scale, which ranks varieties from most to least spicy based on their capsaicin concentration. The scale ranges from standard bell peppers that have no capsaicin to ghost peppers and the Trinidad scorpion–the spiciest chilies around.

Dangers of eating hot peppers

“It’s a bit of a myth that hot peppers can actually create physical damage to the esophagus or tongue,” says Bazilian. But that doesn’t mean there are no dangers associated with noshing on fiery foods. Why? When we eat very hot peppers, the brain receives "pain" signals that can result in an upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting, says Bazilian. The stomach reacts as if you&aposve consumed a toxic substance and works to release whatever was just eaten–i.e. spicy peppers–stat.

“If vomiting occurs, the acid that comes up from the stomach can irritate the esophagus,” explains Bazilian. Depending how hot a pepper is, that irritation can cause serious damage. Back in October 2016, one man actually burned a hole in his esophagus after consuming (and subsequently retching) ghost peppers during an eating contest. Other potential reactions to eating super-spicy peppers include numbness and breathing difficulties.

Health benefits of hot peppers

To complicate things, eating hot peppers can also deliver health benefits. Research suggests that certain capsaicin-rich ingredients, like cayenne pepper, can help eaters slim down by curbing appetite and revving the body’s calorie-burning abilities. What’s more, cayenne has also been shown to help clear sinuses, ease pain, and curb the growth of some bacteria.

To reap the benefits of hot peppers, choose varieties that aren’t too high on the Scoville scale and consume them in tasty meals, rather than straight up. “This way the impact on the tongue, esophagus, and stomach is less, too,” says Bazilian.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for theHealthy Living newsletter

And if you’re planning on entering a hot pepper eating contest or taking the ALS Pepper Challenge, remember this: “When we consume things that aren’t appetizing to us and in quantities that are unreasonable, the possibility for adverse outcomes and discomfort are very real,” says Bazilian. Consider yourself warned.


Is It Dangerous to Eat Really Hot Peppers?

Read this before you attempt the ALS Pepper Challenge.

It’s standard for spicy food to cause your upper lip to sweat, your nose to run, and your mouth to feel like it’s on fire. But can eating hot peppers mess with your health post-meal? The question is worth considering, especially as the ALS Pepper Challenge (AKA the Ice Bucket Challenge 2.0) gains popularity.

Stars like Kelly Clarkson and Shaquille O’Neal have been spotted swallowing spicy stuff for the challenge, which aims to raise awareness and funds for the neurodegenerative disease. But while we watched them struggle to chomp on crazy hot peppers, we couldn’t help but wonder: What makes chilies so darn fiery and are they even safe to nosh on in excess? Here, we pepper nutritionist Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, with all our burning questions. Read the below before you eat a heap of haba༞ros.

What makes peppers so hot?

The main compound that gives chilies their signature kick is a phytonutrient called capsaicin. �psaicin attaches to the receptors on the taste buds that detect temperature and sends signals of spicy heat to the brain,” explains Bazilian, who’s also the author of Eat Clean, Stay Lean.

The amount of heat a pepper packs has to do with the level of capsaicin it contains. To figure out how spicy a certain type of hot pepper is, adventurous eaters can refer to the Scoville scale, which ranks varieties from most to least spicy based on their capsaicin concentration. The scale ranges from standard bell peppers that have no capsaicin to ghost peppers and the Trinidad scorpion–the spiciest chilies around.

Dangers of eating hot peppers

“It’s a bit of a myth that hot peppers can actually create physical damage to the esophagus or tongue,” says Bazilian. But that doesn’t mean there are no dangers associated with noshing on fiery foods. Why? When we eat very hot peppers, the brain receives "pain" signals that can result in an upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting, says Bazilian. The stomach reacts as if you&aposve consumed a toxic substance and works to release whatever was just eaten–i.e. spicy peppers–stat.

“If vomiting occurs, the acid that comes up from the stomach can irritate the esophagus,” explains Bazilian. Depending how hot a pepper is, that irritation can cause serious damage. Back in October 2016, one man actually burned a hole in his esophagus after consuming (and subsequently retching) ghost peppers during an eating contest. Other potential reactions to eating super-spicy peppers include numbness and breathing difficulties.

Health benefits of hot peppers

To complicate things, eating hot peppers can also deliver health benefits. Research suggests that certain capsaicin-rich ingredients, like cayenne pepper, can help eaters slim down by curbing appetite and revving the body’s calorie-burning abilities. What’s more, cayenne has also been shown to help clear sinuses, ease pain, and curb the growth of some bacteria.

To reap the benefits of hot peppers, choose varieties that aren’t too high on the Scoville scale and consume them in tasty meals, rather than straight up. “This way the impact on the tongue, esophagus, and stomach is less, too,” says Bazilian.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for theHealthy Living newsletter

And if you’re planning on entering a hot pepper eating contest or taking the ALS Pepper Challenge, remember this: “When we consume things that aren’t appetizing to us and in quantities that are unreasonable, the possibility for adverse outcomes and discomfort are very real,” says Bazilian. Consider yourself warned.


Is It Dangerous to Eat Really Hot Peppers?

Read this before you attempt the ALS Pepper Challenge.

It’s standard for spicy food to cause your upper lip to sweat, your nose to run, and your mouth to feel like it’s on fire. But can eating hot peppers mess with your health post-meal? The question is worth considering, especially as the ALS Pepper Challenge (AKA the Ice Bucket Challenge 2.0) gains popularity.

Stars like Kelly Clarkson and Shaquille O’Neal have been spotted swallowing spicy stuff for the challenge, which aims to raise awareness and funds for the neurodegenerative disease. But while we watched them struggle to chomp on crazy hot peppers, we couldn’t help but wonder: What makes chilies so darn fiery and are they even safe to nosh on in excess? Here, we pepper nutritionist Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, with all our burning questions. Read the below before you eat a heap of haba༞ros.

What makes peppers so hot?

The main compound that gives chilies their signature kick is a phytonutrient called capsaicin. �psaicin attaches to the receptors on the taste buds that detect temperature and sends signals of spicy heat to the brain,” explains Bazilian, who’s also the author of Eat Clean, Stay Lean.

The amount of heat a pepper packs has to do with the level of capsaicin it contains. To figure out how spicy a certain type of hot pepper is, adventurous eaters can refer to the Scoville scale, which ranks varieties from most to least spicy based on their capsaicin concentration. The scale ranges from standard bell peppers that have no capsaicin to ghost peppers and the Trinidad scorpion–the spiciest chilies around.

Dangers of eating hot peppers

“It’s a bit of a myth that hot peppers can actually create physical damage to the esophagus or tongue,” says Bazilian. But that doesn’t mean there are no dangers associated with noshing on fiery foods. Why? When we eat very hot peppers, the brain receives "pain" signals that can result in an upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting, says Bazilian. The stomach reacts as if you&aposve consumed a toxic substance and works to release whatever was just eaten–i.e. spicy peppers–stat.

“If vomiting occurs, the acid that comes up from the stomach can irritate the esophagus,” explains Bazilian. Depending how hot a pepper is, that irritation can cause serious damage. Back in October 2016, one man actually burned a hole in his esophagus after consuming (and subsequently retching) ghost peppers during an eating contest. Other potential reactions to eating super-spicy peppers include numbness and breathing difficulties.

Health benefits of hot peppers

To complicate things, eating hot peppers can also deliver health benefits. Research suggests that certain capsaicin-rich ingredients, like cayenne pepper, can help eaters slim down by curbing appetite and revving the body’s calorie-burning abilities. What’s more, cayenne has also been shown to help clear sinuses, ease pain, and curb the growth of some bacteria.

To reap the benefits of hot peppers, choose varieties that aren’t too high on the Scoville scale and consume them in tasty meals, rather than straight up. “This way the impact on the tongue, esophagus, and stomach is less, too,” says Bazilian.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for theHealthy Living newsletter

And if you’re planning on entering a hot pepper eating contest or taking the ALS Pepper Challenge, remember this: “When we consume things that aren’t appetizing to us and in quantities that are unreasonable, the possibility for adverse outcomes and discomfort are very real,” says Bazilian. Consider yourself warned.


Is It Dangerous to Eat Really Hot Peppers?

Read this before you attempt the ALS Pepper Challenge.

It’s standard for spicy food to cause your upper lip to sweat, your nose to run, and your mouth to feel like it’s on fire. But can eating hot peppers mess with your health post-meal? The question is worth considering, especially as the ALS Pepper Challenge (AKA the Ice Bucket Challenge 2.0) gains popularity.

Stars like Kelly Clarkson and Shaquille O’Neal have been spotted swallowing spicy stuff for the challenge, which aims to raise awareness and funds for the neurodegenerative disease. But while we watched them struggle to chomp on crazy hot peppers, we couldn’t help but wonder: What makes chilies so darn fiery and are they even safe to nosh on in excess? Here, we pepper nutritionist Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, with all our burning questions. Read the below before you eat a heap of haba༞ros.

What makes peppers so hot?

The main compound that gives chilies their signature kick is a phytonutrient called capsaicin. �psaicin attaches to the receptors on the taste buds that detect temperature and sends signals of spicy heat to the brain,” explains Bazilian, who’s also the author of Eat Clean, Stay Lean.

The amount of heat a pepper packs has to do with the level of capsaicin it contains. To figure out how spicy a certain type of hot pepper is, adventurous eaters can refer to the Scoville scale, which ranks varieties from most to least spicy based on their capsaicin concentration. The scale ranges from standard bell peppers that have no capsaicin to ghost peppers and the Trinidad scorpion–the spiciest chilies around.

Dangers of eating hot peppers

“It’s a bit of a myth that hot peppers can actually create physical damage to the esophagus or tongue,” says Bazilian. But that doesn’t mean there are no dangers associated with noshing on fiery foods. Why? When we eat very hot peppers, the brain receives "pain" signals that can result in an upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting, says Bazilian. The stomach reacts as if you&aposve consumed a toxic substance and works to release whatever was just eaten–i.e. spicy peppers–stat.

“If vomiting occurs, the acid that comes up from the stomach can irritate the esophagus,” explains Bazilian. Depending how hot a pepper is, that irritation can cause serious damage. Back in October 2016, one man actually burned a hole in his esophagus after consuming (and subsequently retching) ghost peppers during an eating contest. Other potential reactions to eating super-spicy peppers include numbness and breathing difficulties.

Health benefits of hot peppers

To complicate things, eating hot peppers can also deliver health benefits. Research suggests that certain capsaicin-rich ingredients, like cayenne pepper, can help eaters slim down by curbing appetite and revving the body’s calorie-burning abilities. What’s more, cayenne has also been shown to help clear sinuses, ease pain, and curb the growth of some bacteria.

To reap the benefits of hot peppers, choose varieties that aren’t too high on the Scoville scale and consume them in tasty meals, rather than straight up. “This way the impact on the tongue, esophagus, and stomach is less, too,” says Bazilian.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for theHealthy Living newsletter

And if you’re planning on entering a hot pepper eating contest or taking the ALS Pepper Challenge, remember this: “When we consume things that aren’t appetizing to us and in quantities that are unreasonable, the possibility for adverse outcomes and discomfort are very real,” says Bazilian. Consider yourself warned.


Is It Dangerous to Eat Really Hot Peppers?

Read this before you attempt the ALS Pepper Challenge.

It’s standard for spicy food to cause your upper lip to sweat, your nose to run, and your mouth to feel like it’s on fire. But can eating hot peppers mess with your health post-meal? The question is worth considering, especially as the ALS Pepper Challenge (AKA the Ice Bucket Challenge 2.0) gains popularity.

Stars like Kelly Clarkson and Shaquille O’Neal have been spotted swallowing spicy stuff for the challenge, which aims to raise awareness and funds for the neurodegenerative disease. But while we watched them struggle to chomp on crazy hot peppers, we couldn’t help but wonder: What makes chilies so darn fiery and are they even safe to nosh on in excess? Here, we pepper nutritionist Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, with all our burning questions. Read the below before you eat a heap of haba༞ros.

What makes peppers so hot?

The main compound that gives chilies their signature kick is a phytonutrient called capsaicin. �psaicin attaches to the receptors on the taste buds that detect temperature and sends signals of spicy heat to the brain,” explains Bazilian, who’s also the author of Eat Clean, Stay Lean.

The amount of heat a pepper packs has to do with the level of capsaicin it contains. To figure out how spicy a certain type of hot pepper is, adventurous eaters can refer to the Scoville scale, which ranks varieties from most to least spicy based on their capsaicin concentration. The scale ranges from standard bell peppers that have no capsaicin to ghost peppers and the Trinidad scorpion–the spiciest chilies around.

Dangers of eating hot peppers

“It’s a bit of a myth that hot peppers can actually create physical damage to the esophagus or tongue,” says Bazilian. But that doesn’t mean there are no dangers associated with noshing on fiery foods. Why? When we eat very hot peppers, the brain receives "pain" signals that can result in an upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting, says Bazilian. The stomach reacts as if you&aposve consumed a toxic substance and works to release whatever was just eaten–i.e. spicy peppers–stat.

“If vomiting occurs, the acid that comes up from the stomach can irritate the esophagus,” explains Bazilian. Depending how hot a pepper is, that irritation can cause serious damage. Back in October 2016, one man actually burned a hole in his esophagus after consuming (and subsequently retching) ghost peppers during an eating contest. Other potential reactions to eating super-spicy peppers include numbness and breathing difficulties.

Health benefits of hot peppers

To complicate things, eating hot peppers can also deliver health benefits. Research suggests that certain capsaicin-rich ingredients, like cayenne pepper, can help eaters slim down by curbing appetite and revving the body’s calorie-burning abilities. What’s more, cayenne has also been shown to help clear sinuses, ease pain, and curb the growth of some bacteria.

To reap the benefits of hot peppers, choose varieties that aren’t too high on the Scoville scale and consume them in tasty meals, rather than straight up. “This way the impact on the tongue, esophagus, and stomach is less, too,” says Bazilian.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for theHealthy Living newsletter

And if you’re planning on entering a hot pepper eating contest or taking the ALS Pepper Challenge, remember this: “When we consume things that aren’t appetizing to us and in quantities that are unreasonable, the possibility for adverse outcomes and discomfort are very real,” says Bazilian. Consider yourself warned.


Is It Dangerous to Eat Really Hot Peppers?

Read this before you attempt the ALS Pepper Challenge.

It’s standard for spicy food to cause your upper lip to sweat, your nose to run, and your mouth to feel like it’s on fire. But can eating hot peppers mess with your health post-meal? The question is worth considering, especially as the ALS Pepper Challenge (AKA the Ice Bucket Challenge 2.0) gains popularity.

Stars like Kelly Clarkson and Shaquille O’Neal have been spotted swallowing spicy stuff for the challenge, which aims to raise awareness and funds for the neurodegenerative disease. But while we watched them struggle to chomp on crazy hot peppers, we couldn’t help but wonder: What makes chilies so darn fiery and are they even safe to nosh on in excess? Here, we pepper nutritionist Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, with all our burning questions. Read the below before you eat a heap of haba༞ros.

What makes peppers so hot?

The main compound that gives chilies their signature kick is a phytonutrient called capsaicin. �psaicin attaches to the receptors on the taste buds that detect temperature and sends signals of spicy heat to the brain,” explains Bazilian, who’s also the author of Eat Clean, Stay Lean.

The amount of heat a pepper packs has to do with the level of capsaicin it contains. To figure out how spicy a certain type of hot pepper is, adventurous eaters can refer to the Scoville scale, which ranks varieties from most to least spicy based on their capsaicin concentration. The scale ranges from standard bell peppers that have no capsaicin to ghost peppers and the Trinidad scorpion–the spiciest chilies around.

Dangers of eating hot peppers

“It’s a bit of a myth that hot peppers can actually create physical damage to the esophagus or tongue,” says Bazilian. But that doesn’t mean there are no dangers associated with noshing on fiery foods. Why? When we eat very hot peppers, the brain receives "pain" signals that can result in an upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting, says Bazilian. The stomach reacts as if you&aposve consumed a toxic substance and works to release whatever was just eaten–i.e. spicy peppers–stat.

“If vomiting occurs, the acid that comes up from the stomach can irritate the esophagus,” explains Bazilian. Depending how hot a pepper is, that irritation can cause serious damage. Back in October 2016, one man actually burned a hole in his esophagus after consuming (and subsequently retching) ghost peppers during an eating contest. Other potential reactions to eating super-spicy peppers include numbness and breathing difficulties.

Health benefits of hot peppers

To complicate things, eating hot peppers can also deliver health benefits. Research suggests that certain capsaicin-rich ingredients, like cayenne pepper, can help eaters slim down by curbing appetite and revving the body’s calorie-burning abilities. What’s more, cayenne has also been shown to help clear sinuses, ease pain, and curb the growth of some bacteria.

To reap the benefits of hot peppers, choose varieties that aren’t too high on the Scoville scale and consume them in tasty meals, rather than straight up. “This way the impact on the tongue, esophagus, and stomach is less, too,” says Bazilian.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for theHealthy Living newsletter

And if you’re planning on entering a hot pepper eating contest or taking the ALS Pepper Challenge, remember this: “When we consume things that aren’t appetizing to us and in quantities that are unreasonable, the possibility for adverse outcomes and discomfort are very real,” says Bazilian. Consider yourself warned.


Is It Dangerous to Eat Really Hot Peppers?

Read this before you attempt the ALS Pepper Challenge.

It’s standard for spicy food to cause your upper lip to sweat, your nose to run, and your mouth to feel like it’s on fire. But can eating hot peppers mess with your health post-meal? The question is worth considering, especially as the ALS Pepper Challenge (AKA the Ice Bucket Challenge 2.0) gains popularity.

Stars like Kelly Clarkson and Shaquille O’Neal have been spotted swallowing spicy stuff for the challenge, which aims to raise awareness and funds for the neurodegenerative disease. But while we watched them struggle to chomp on crazy hot peppers, we couldn’t help but wonder: What makes chilies so darn fiery and are they even safe to nosh on in excess? Here, we pepper nutritionist Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, with all our burning questions. Read the below before you eat a heap of haba༞ros.

What makes peppers so hot?

The main compound that gives chilies their signature kick is a phytonutrient called capsaicin. �psaicin attaches to the receptors on the taste buds that detect temperature and sends signals of spicy heat to the brain,” explains Bazilian, who’s also the author of Eat Clean, Stay Lean.

The amount of heat a pepper packs has to do with the level of capsaicin it contains. To figure out how spicy a certain type of hot pepper is, adventurous eaters can refer to the Scoville scale, which ranks varieties from most to least spicy based on their capsaicin concentration. The scale ranges from standard bell peppers that have no capsaicin to ghost peppers and the Trinidad scorpion–the spiciest chilies around.

Dangers of eating hot peppers

“It’s a bit of a myth that hot peppers can actually create physical damage to the esophagus or tongue,” says Bazilian. But that doesn’t mean there are no dangers associated with noshing on fiery foods. Why? When we eat very hot peppers, the brain receives "pain" signals that can result in an upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting, says Bazilian. The stomach reacts as if you&aposve consumed a toxic substance and works to release whatever was just eaten–i.e. spicy peppers–stat.

“If vomiting occurs, the acid that comes up from the stomach can irritate the esophagus,” explains Bazilian. Depending how hot a pepper is, that irritation can cause serious damage. Back in October 2016, one man actually burned a hole in his esophagus after consuming (and subsequently retching) ghost peppers during an eating contest. Other potential reactions to eating super-spicy peppers include numbness and breathing difficulties.

Health benefits of hot peppers

To complicate things, eating hot peppers can also deliver health benefits. Research suggests that certain capsaicin-rich ingredients, like cayenne pepper, can help eaters slim down by curbing appetite and revving the body’s calorie-burning abilities. What’s more, cayenne has also been shown to help clear sinuses, ease pain, and curb the growth of some bacteria.

To reap the benefits of hot peppers, choose varieties that aren’t too high on the Scoville scale and consume them in tasty meals, rather than straight up. “This way the impact on the tongue, esophagus, and stomach is less, too,” says Bazilian.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for theHealthy Living newsletter

And if you’re planning on entering a hot pepper eating contest or taking the ALS Pepper Challenge, remember this: “When we consume things that aren’t appetizing to us and in quantities that are unreasonable, the possibility for adverse outcomes and discomfort are very real,” says Bazilian. Consider yourself warned.


Is It Dangerous to Eat Really Hot Peppers?

Read this before you attempt the ALS Pepper Challenge.

It’s standard for spicy food to cause your upper lip to sweat, your nose to run, and your mouth to feel like it’s on fire. But can eating hot peppers mess with your health post-meal? The question is worth considering, especially as the ALS Pepper Challenge (AKA the Ice Bucket Challenge 2.0) gains popularity.

Stars like Kelly Clarkson and Shaquille O’Neal have been spotted swallowing spicy stuff for the challenge, which aims to raise awareness and funds for the neurodegenerative disease. But while we watched them struggle to chomp on crazy hot peppers, we couldn’t help but wonder: What makes chilies so darn fiery and are they even safe to nosh on in excess? Here, we pepper nutritionist Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, with all our burning questions. Read the below before you eat a heap of haba༞ros.

What makes peppers so hot?

The main compound that gives chilies their signature kick is a phytonutrient called capsaicin. �psaicin attaches to the receptors on the taste buds that detect temperature and sends signals of spicy heat to the brain,” explains Bazilian, who’s also the author of Eat Clean, Stay Lean.

The amount of heat a pepper packs has to do with the level of capsaicin it contains. To figure out how spicy a certain type of hot pepper is, adventurous eaters can refer to the Scoville scale, which ranks varieties from most to least spicy based on their capsaicin concentration. The scale ranges from standard bell peppers that have no capsaicin to ghost peppers and the Trinidad scorpion–the spiciest chilies around.

Dangers of eating hot peppers

“It’s a bit of a myth that hot peppers can actually create physical damage to the esophagus or tongue,” says Bazilian. But that doesn’t mean there are no dangers associated with noshing on fiery foods. Why? When we eat very hot peppers, the brain receives "pain" signals that can result in an upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting, says Bazilian. The stomach reacts as if you&aposve consumed a toxic substance and works to release whatever was just eaten–i.e. spicy peppers–stat.

“If vomiting occurs, the acid that comes up from the stomach can irritate the esophagus,” explains Bazilian. Depending how hot a pepper is, that irritation can cause serious damage. Back in October 2016, one man actually burned a hole in his esophagus after consuming (and subsequently retching) ghost peppers during an eating contest. Other potential reactions to eating super-spicy peppers include numbness and breathing difficulties.

Health benefits of hot peppers

To complicate things, eating hot peppers can also deliver health benefits. Research suggests that certain capsaicin-rich ingredients, like cayenne pepper, can help eaters slim down by curbing appetite and revving the body’s calorie-burning abilities. What’s more, cayenne has also been shown to help clear sinuses, ease pain, and curb the growth of some bacteria.

To reap the benefits of hot peppers, choose varieties that aren’t too high on the Scoville scale and consume them in tasty meals, rather than straight up. “This way the impact on the tongue, esophagus, and stomach is less, too,” says Bazilian.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for theHealthy Living newsletter

And if you’re planning on entering a hot pepper eating contest or taking the ALS Pepper Challenge, remember this: “When we consume things that aren’t appetizing to us and in quantities that are unreasonable, the possibility for adverse outcomes and discomfort are very real,” says Bazilian. Consider yourself warned.


Is It Dangerous to Eat Really Hot Peppers?

Read this before you attempt the ALS Pepper Challenge.

It’s standard for spicy food to cause your upper lip to sweat, your nose to run, and your mouth to feel like it’s on fire. But can eating hot peppers mess with your health post-meal? The question is worth considering, especially as the ALS Pepper Challenge (AKA the Ice Bucket Challenge 2.0) gains popularity.

Stars like Kelly Clarkson and Shaquille O’Neal have been spotted swallowing spicy stuff for the challenge, which aims to raise awareness and funds for the neurodegenerative disease. But while we watched them struggle to chomp on crazy hot peppers, we couldn’t help but wonder: What makes chilies so darn fiery and are they even safe to nosh on in excess? Here, we pepper nutritionist Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, with all our burning questions. Read the below before you eat a heap of haba༞ros.

What makes peppers so hot?

The main compound that gives chilies their signature kick is a phytonutrient called capsaicin. �psaicin attaches to the receptors on the taste buds that detect temperature and sends signals of spicy heat to the brain,” explains Bazilian, who’s also the author of Eat Clean, Stay Lean.

The amount of heat a pepper packs has to do with the level of capsaicin it contains. To figure out how spicy a certain type of hot pepper is, adventurous eaters can refer to the Scoville scale, which ranks varieties from most to least spicy based on their capsaicin concentration. The scale ranges from standard bell peppers that have no capsaicin to ghost peppers and the Trinidad scorpion–the spiciest chilies around.

Dangers of eating hot peppers

“It’s a bit of a myth that hot peppers can actually create physical damage to the esophagus or tongue,” says Bazilian. But that doesn’t mean there are no dangers associated with noshing on fiery foods. Why? When we eat very hot peppers, the brain receives "pain" signals that can result in an upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting, says Bazilian. The stomach reacts as if you&aposve consumed a toxic substance and works to release whatever was just eaten–i.e. spicy peppers–stat.

“If vomiting occurs, the acid that comes up from the stomach can irritate the esophagus,” explains Bazilian. Depending how hot a pepper is, that irritation can cause serious damage. Back in October 2016, one man actually burned a hole in his esophagus after consuming (and subsequently retching) ghost peppers during an eating contest. Other potential reactions to eating super-spicy peppers include numbness and breathing difficulties.

Health benefits of hot peppers

To complicate things, eating hot peppers can also deliver health benefits. Research suggests that certain capsaicin-rich ingredients, like cayenne pepper, can help eaters slim down by curbing appetite and revving the body’s calorie-burning abilities. What’s more, cayenne has also been shown to help clear sinuses, ease pain, and curb the growth of some bacteria.

To reap the benefits of hot peppers, choose varieties that aren’t too high on the Scoville scale and consume them in tasty meals, rather than straight up. “This way the impact on the tongue, esophagus, and stomach is less, too,” says Bazilian.

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And if you’re planning on entering a hot pepper eating contest or taking the ALS Pepper Challenge, remember this: “When we consume things that aren’t appetizing to us and in quantities that are unreasonable, the possibility for adverse outcomes and discomfort are very real,” says Bazilian. Consider yourself warned.