In Focus:

Is It Dangerous to Eat Really Hot Peppers

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 habañeros.

What makes peppers so hot?

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