Hint: it’s not gulping down water!
Even the most diehard chiliheads come across a pepper that sets their mouth aflame once in a while, and it’s not a pretty sight.
That’s exactly what happened to green thumb Jennifer Garner recently while she was filming a tour of her backyard garden. The actress was showing off her homegrown goods when she casually took a nibble of a harmless-looking green chili pepper. No big deal, right?
“What do you think: Is it going to be hot?” she asks the camera as she tears into the little veggie. Shocked, Garner immediately spits it out. “I wish I hadn’t done that. It’s not funny!” she cries.
Desperate for relief, the mother-of-three heads for her garden hose, but the fire in her mouth rages on. Even a mouthful of lettuce can’t extinguish it. Moments later she was clapping her hands and chanting, “Regret! Regret! Regret!” and then she was back at the garden hose gulping more water. “Not as cool as I thought I was,” she wrote alongside the funny video on Instagram (below).
The scene, as we all know, can be a hilarious one, but it made us wonder what we should do the next time we have a five-alarm fire in our mouths.
According to the American Chemical Society, the worst thing you can do when your mouth is on fire is drink water. (Sorry Jennifer!)
“Water only makes it worse, similar to throwing water on a grease fire,” their website reads. The solution, it turns out, is casein—the natural antidote to capsaicin, the irritant that gives peppers their heat. Casein is found in dairy, which is why scientists recommend drinking milk or eating ice cream when you can’t stand the heat. Casein “surrounds the capsaicin molecules and washes them away, in the same way that soap washes away grease,” the ACS writes.
So there you have it! Next time you pull a Jennifer Garner, go for a swig of milk, or better yet a nice cold spoonful of ice cream.