Is It Safe To Eat Ghost Peppers?

If you pop an entire ghost pepper in your mouth, chances are you're soon going to feel like you really are dying. If you're such a badass that you claim to enjoy a million-plus Scoville units all exploding in your mouth at once and that you start every day with a handful of one of the world's hottest peppers, don't even bother, nobody believes you. (Plus, the whole ghost pepper food challenge is so last decade.)

The fact is, ghost pepper, aka bhut jolokia, means deep hurting in any language. And yes, in case you're wondering, eating them can actually kill you. The good news is, according to How Stuff Works, that you'd have to eat an awful lot of them in order to actually expire from the experience since it would take about three pounds of peppers to kill a person weighing 150 pounds. As long as you refrain from consuming 1/50th your body weight in ghost peppers, you'll probably survive the burn, but you may not come out unscathed. In 2016, a man who had eaten pureed ghost pepper tore his esophagus from retching, a condition The Guardian described as life-threatening.

Ghost peppers are actually good for you

If you stick to eating only very small amounts of ghost pepper used to flavor other foods, you may actually gain some health benefits from so doing. A 2 gram serving (which shouldn't be too uncomfortable) will provide 4 percent of your recommended daily vitamin C, and the capsaicin contained in ghost peppers has medical benefits that may include lower cholesterol, lower blood sugar, and possibly even protection against certain types of cancer. Eating spicy food such as hot peppers can also boost your metabolism, which in turn may help with weight loss.

Despite these health benefits, PepperScale warns of one very immediate danger that ghost peppers can pose even before you eat them. The oils they contain are so hot that just touching a pepper can burn you pretty badly, so you should never try preparing them without gloves and goggles, maybe even a hazmat suit. Otherwise, you're likely to have a ghost (pepper) encounter that will really haunt you, and pain that's anything but "phantom."