So Spicy, So Good, Why Hot Sauce is Great for You
If you love spicy food the way I do, then this article is going to make you very happy. Do you enjoy the burn, a little bit of sweat on your brow, the explosion of flavor on your tongue?
It turns out that the health benefits of hot sauce are just as explosive as the food it seasons!
A hot pepper by any other name is still fantastic for your health, which is great because there are literally thousands of varieties that are used in almost every cuisine in the world. They feature prominently in Szechuan, Indian, Thai, and (of course) your favorite Mexican food.
The History that Lead to Hot Sauce
They originated in Central and South America, spread to Europe courtesy of Christopher Columbus, and made their way to Asia and Africa with the help of Ferdinand Magellan.
Pepper popularity grew quickly and it wasn’t long before the medical practitioners of the time recognized their incredible pharmaceutical benefits as well. They were used for congestion and heart trouble – and now the science backs up those original observations.
A Vitamin Powerhouse!
Hot sauce is nutrient dense but low in calories and the heat makes you eat more slowly. High in vitamins A, C, E, K, and the B-complex family, peppers are also packed with fiber, copper, iron, and potassium.
There is a special antioxidant called capsaicin found in hot peppers, dried cayenne powder, and chilis. It has shown to be so effective that capsaicin (and synthetic versions) are added to many topical creams used for pain relief.
Research has proven that this spicy compound ramps up your metabolism to help you burn more fat, improves mood by triggering endorphins, and may even suppress your appetite.
Hot sauce burns fat by raising your body temperature (hence the beads of sweat when you eat it), leaving you “hot” in more ways than one!
According to a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, one meal containing hot sauce reduces production of ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”). Participants who drank tomato juice infused with capsaicin in the form of chili powder showed a 16% lower calorie consumption than the control group.
Antibacterial, antiviral, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and anti-cancer, adding the benefits of hot sauce to your meal plan is a flavorful and effective way to protect your health.
10 Reasons to Say Yes to Hot Sauce
- Aids in successful weight loss
- Improves circulation and arterial health
- Endorphin rush results in better mood
- Provides natural pain relief for migraines
- Fights body-wide inflammation – including arthritis
- Lowers blood pressure and LDL (bad cholesterol)
- Improves immune system function
- Helps get rid of mucus that causes congestion
- Boosts your body’s ability to fight allergens
- Causes cancer cells to commit apoptosis (cell suicide)
Use with Caution
Naturally, you need to be careful about how much hot sauce you put on your food. If you can’t handle the heat, the health benefits of hot sauce aren’t going to do you much good. Start small (a dash or two) and build up your tolerance.
Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after heating food that contains hot peppers and don’t touch the “soft tissues” of your face such as your eyes and nose. After all, some of the base ingredients are used in the production of pepper spray used by law enforcement.
Despite popular myth, there has been no scientific evidence that hot sauce results in upset stomach or heartburn. Experts believe it may be the food it is added to that are the culprits.
Fun Fact about Hot Sauce Lovers
People who consume a lot of hot sauce (and other spicy foods) are natural “risk takers” who are open to new experiences.
Dabble in the heat…you won’t be sorry!