Adding hot sauce to your food changes the flavor. Some people love to add a lot of heat to their food. Others want to turn up the temperature and add a bite to it.
And then some pride themselves on withstanding some of the hottest concoctions known to man but is hot sauce healthy?
No doubt that adding hot sauce can cause a reaction in your body. Putting a few drops of something mild may enhance the flavor of your food. But dripping something made from things like ghost or scorpion peppers can create intense pain and sweating.
Eating something like that would not seem to be good for you. Here are some of the health benefits and risks of eating hot sauce.
Hot Sauce Health Benefits
With thousands of varieties on the market, hot sauces are a popular condiment. But there is more to them than just making your food spicier. Many things in the hot sauce make it healthy.
The main ingredient in hot sauce is chili peppers. It usually contains vinegar, salt, and other herbs and spices to create a unique flavor. Because of that, they are low in calories and have no fat.
That makes them great for people who are trying to lose weight. Adding flavor to vegetables and lean meats can make them more palatable to people not accustomed to them.
Spicy foods have also been shown to reduce hunger. When you make your food spicier, you tend to eat it much slower. The increased chewing and saliva production can help to make you feel full sooner, causing you to eat less.
If you get satisfied by eating healthy foods, you will be more likely to make healthy choices in the future.
Studies have shown that spicy foods can help speed up your metabolism.
Capsaicin, the active ingredient that makes hot sauce spicy, has been shown to cause an increase in metabolism. It helps your body to burn calories faster, which could speed up your weight loss.
Reduce the Chance of Diabetes
Some studies have discovered that capsaicin can prevent the overproduction of insulin. People who eat a meal containing a healthy amount of hot sauce may produce less insulin than those eating without it.
That can reduce your risk of developing type two diabetes.
Fight the Common Cold
There is no medical cure for a cold, sinus infections, and allergies, but hot sauce can help you ease some of the symptoms. It helps to open up the sinuses and relieve nasal congestion. That can help you feel better and clear out the pressure causing your discomfort.
Doctors have known for a while that using capsaicin topically can help to relieve pain. Because it is a natural anti-inflammatory, it can help to reduce inflammation.
You probably will not rub hot sauce on your foot after spraining your ankle. But eating food seasoned with hot sauce may reduce the inflammation that causes your headache and some other ailments.
Vitamins and Antioxidants
There are not a lot of vitamins to be added with hot sauce since most people only eat about a teaspoon at a time. However, vitamin C is abundant in most sauces, along with potassium.
If you are deficient in either of those, putting a splash of hot sauce on your food could help.
Capsaicin could be a tool in fighting off the growth of some cancers. It is present in chili peppers and interacts with cancer cells, causing them to slow their growth.
They effectively disable them and many cases. There is a lot of research to be done before capsaicin can be used in fighting cancer.
However, high doses of capsaicin in laboratory rats slowed the growth of prostate cancer cells by nearly 80 percent.
Is Hot Sauce Good for Your Heart?
Capsaicin has many health benefits that may help your overall heart health. The biggest of those may be its effect on blood pressure.
When you eat a hot sauce that is high on the Scoville scale, it makes your body think that it is in pain.
If you have done it, you know you can be in pain for a few minutes. Your body’s response is to release endorphins and dopamine to help ease it. It can give you a calm sensation that brings your blood pressure down.
Eating spicy foods also reduces the risk of heart disease and helps to lower LDL cholesterol. This, in addition to its benefits for weight loss, make hot sauce a useful tool in combatting many heart-related issues.
Eating a meal or snack with a heavy dose of spicy hot sauce a few times every week could make a significant difference.
Having a hot sauce with a high Scoville rating can make you feel as though you are having a heart attack. You will begin sweating, you might get nauseated, and you could have pain in your chest or abdomen.
However, a milder hot sauce used routinely to make healthy dishes could benefit your heart health. Some heart-healthy dishes that can include hot sauce are:
- Breakfast burritos
- Spicy bean chili
- Shrimp fajitas
- Boneless air-fried wings
- Spicy brownies
Hot Sauce Health Risks
While there are many benefits to a diet that includes hot sauce, there can be substantial risks as well.
Many of the bad things associated with hot sauce can be counteracted by using it in moderation and paying attention to the brand and ingredients used. Here are a few of the health risks that can come from eating hot sauce.
Some hot sauces are high in sodium. That is because manufacturers put a lot of salt in it to add flavor and increase the shelf life.
A diet that is too high in salt can negatively affect your blood pressure and increase your chance of a heart attack.
However, with so many varieties of hot sauce available, there are quite a few made with much lower sodium content. If you cannot find one in your local supermarket, try searching online or visiting a hot sauce specialty store.
Eating very spicy foods could worsen symptoms of acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome. Large amounts of hot sauce can cause nausea, vomiting, cramps, chest pains, and diarrhea.
Some hot sauces made with a high concentration of peppers can cause gastritis and ulcers.
That can mean that over time, someone indulging in very spicy food could do severe damage to the lining of their stomach and intestines. If you love hot sauce, it is best to use the hottest kinds sparingly.
Sriracha Hot Sauce Health Benefits
Sriracha is one of the most popular brands of hot sauce. It is widely available in supermarkets and in many products including ketchup, potato chips, lollipops, candy, chocolate, and popcorn.
In Thailand and Vietnam, Sriracha is used in many foods such as soups, burgers, eggs, and noodles. People who dislike spicy foods will often enjoy the kick that sriracha adds to food because it does not overpower the flavor.
The benefits of sriracha to one’s health are much the same as many other brands of hot sauce.
The capsaicin from the chili peppers can give benefits such as pain reduction, lower cholesterol, and lower blood pressure. One of sriracha’s main ingredients is garlic, which is beneficial to heart health.
Because sriracha has many benefits found in other hot sauces, people who do not normally eat spicy foods may enjoy it. Sriracha has a milder flavor than others.
It is not hot compared to some sauces that use peppers with a higher Scoville rating. People with a sensitive pallet or who have digestive issues are less inclined to have issues from using sriracha.
Can You Eat Too Much Hot Sauce?
It has been said that eating too much hot sauce can kill you.
Scientists agree that this is not the case. In order to take in the number of chili peppers it would take to do that, you would have to eat several pounds of them at once. Your body would reject them well beyond that point.
Many people have believed that eating spicy foods on a regular basis can burn out your taste buds and cause you to lose your sense of taste. This is also a myth.
While you could lose some of your taste after eating something spicy, this effect is temporary and your taste will return in a while.
There is no downside to adding hot sauce to your food regularly. Many people eat a healthy amount of it daily. If you pay attention to the sodium content of the sauces you consume, there is no reason not to douse your food in your favorite brand.
If you start to have issues with your digestive system, try finding a sauce that is a little less spicy, or reduce the amount you are eating.
Hot sauce can give a healthy kick to your food. Or you can test the pain threshold of your friends by challenging them to a hot wing contest.
Even as you eat and enjoy a variety of hot sauces of different heats, your body is benefitting from the capsicin you are taking in.
Everything from the common cold to cancer can be made better with a moderate amount of hot sauce in your diet. Pick up a bottle and try it on your food to add flavor and health benefits to all your meals.