This Is How Many Jalapeño Peppers It Would Take To Kill You

Have you ever sipped warm coffee to wash down a bite of hot chicken and seen stars? Maybe you've tried the spicy ramen challenge and felt on the verge of death. Or, maybe you've even sampled a tiny sliver of bhut jolokia, also known as the ghost pepper aka the hottest chili pepper on earth (via Chili Pepper Madness), and wondered if you'd ever again regain your tasting abilities.

If you've ever experienced spiciness overload, you may find it comforting to know that it is very difficult to eat a deadly amount of chili peppers, Serious Eats reports. "The average person would have to eat enough capsicum [the chemical agent that acts as the irritant in peppers] equal to approximately 30 pounds of jalapeños to get a lethal dose," writes the publication. That's a lot of jalapeños. For reference, Guinness World Record holder Anandita Dutta Tamuly once ate 51 ghost peppers, even rubbing several in her eyes, and was totally fine, according to The Daily Mail. It's when you unexpectedly ingest something very spicy, doctors say, that problems are more likely to occur.

There's been only one reported death from eating too many hot peppers

"The main complication of eating too many chiles is that you feel miserable," Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., told Serious Eats. "So the answer is that, although you may feel like dying, it won't kill you." However, if you eat something extremely spicy by surprise — biting into a ghost pepper that you thought was a strawberry, for example — "the shock could be potentially dangerous," the article explains. The sudden, dramatic sensation could result in high blood pressure and spur a heart attack or stroke, especially in those with underlying medical conditions, according to Serious Eats.

There has been one and only one reported instance in which a young, healthy man died after purposefully eating chili peppers, Dr. Teitelbaum notes. Andrew Lee, 33, died in his sleep after eating "a plate" of homemade chili sauce (per The Daily Mail), while at least three other men have been hospitalized due to symptoms related to eating copious hot peppers, The Guardian reports. These instances are rare, Dr. Teitelbaum reiterates, and shouldn't discourage you from eating chili peppers in reasonable amounts. "If you know what you're getting into, it's okay. It's when you get the unexpected that there could be a problem," he told Serious Eats.