Eating hot peppers is apparently a great way to avoid having a stroke or heart attack, according to a recent study from the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine. The study found that people who ate hot peppers tended to live longer despite the fact that they had other bad habits, such as smoking.
To be fair, it’s not entirely clear where the direct tie is between the peppers and the longevity (the researchers speculate that capsaicin helps prevent obesity), but going by the crazy logic of studies like this, it only makes sense that we take a logical leap of our own: If you eat increasingly hotter peppers, you should theoretically be able to live forever.
With that in mind, here are some of the hottest peppers you can purchase anywhere:
Really Freaking Hot Peppers
- Ghost-Bustin’ For years, the world’s hottest pepper was generally accepted to be the ghost pepper, also known as the Bhut jolokia. And it’s no joke—with more than 1 million Scoville units in a single pepper, it’s not one you want to mess with. (Last year, a guy ate one and it messed him up so bad that it left a hole in his esophagus.) The ghost pepper, which is naturally occurring, eventually lost its world’s-hottest crown to a series of peppers basically engineered to be even hotter.
- An Arms Race of Heat Wahid Ogeer, a political party leader in Trinidad, got out in front of this trend with his Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, which was confirmed by New Mexico State University to be the world’s hottest in 2012—averaging 1.2 million scoville units on average. (The university used a very detailed process to figure this out.) These days, Ogeer is teaching Trinidadians how to grow the plant themselves.
- Fear the Reaper Currently, the Carolina Reaper, grown by the PuckerButt Pepper Company, is at the top of the Guinness list for hot peppers, with its 1.57 million Scoville units on average (though it sometimes gets as high as 2.2 million). The developer of the pepper, Ed Currie, is on board with the medical benefits of hot peppers—he has donated a portion of his crop to cancer research. So maybe you will live forever if you eat one of these.
In case you want to talk more about hot peppers, read this piece about how I scarred myself with jalapeño peppers in 2015. I’m a wuss.