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Is Hot Sauce Good For You? Here’s What To Know
If you’re one of those people who puts hot sauce on pretty much everything, you might be wondering whether hot sauce is good or bad for you. Well, friend, you’re in luck—hot sauce is actually very good for you! Heck, it’s so good it might even be the next superfood (move over, Acai berries—we’re over trying to pronounce your impossible name). Read on to get the lowdown on the good stuff.
Hot Sauce Benefits
Hot Sauce contains hot peppers, and hot peppers contain capsaicin—remember this word because you’ll be seeing a lot of it. Capsaicin is the compound that puts the “hot” in hot peppers, but it also has some pretty impressive health benefits. The hotter the hot sauce, the higher the concentration of capsaicin and, therefore, the healthier the hot sauce.
Hot sauce can help regulate your appetite, which is great if you’re trying to shave off a few pounds (or shave down your food bill). That component we just mentioned (yes, capsaicin) is the key player here. Capsaicin is the natural enemy of ghrelin, the hunger hormone that triggers the munchies. When you splash on the hot sauce, just imagine an army of capsaicin-crusaders charging in and crushing the ghrelin gremlins. Fun, right?
Plus, when you eat spicy food, you naturally tend to eat more slowly (probably because you’re too busy crying tears of deliciousness!). When you eat more slowly, you are less likely to over-stuff yourself. Another win for hot sauce!
Immune System Supercharger
Hot sauces are made from hot peppers, and hot peppers are vegetables, after all. The peppers are packed with antioxidants and vitamins—especially vitamins C, A, and E—that supercharge your food with good-for-you nutrients. This immune system boost can help you ward off the ‘rona and whatever other germ-du-jour your kids pick up at school.
Bonus benefit: Super spicy peppers have decongestant properties that clear up your sinuses and make a cold or allergies more manageable. Have you ever noticed your nose running after you eat spicy food? That’s what we’re talking about, and it seriously helps!
If you love putting hot sauce on your food, then every delightfully-spiced bite delivers instant happiness. But it goes beyond that—hot sauce actually helps increase happiness on a chemical level. A spicy meal helps your body release endorphins (those ever-popular feel-good chemicals) that help reduce pain, banish stress, and even produce a natural “high.”. Thus, hot sauce makes you happier, but not so happy that we need a “don’t operate heavy machinery” warning on the label.
Most hot sauces are considered low-calorie foods. So, when you want to add a bang of flavor without all the extra junk you get with sugary sauces (ahem, bbq sauce) or fatty seasonings (we’re looking at you, butter), grab some hot sauce, apply liberally, and enjoy!
Some studies suggest that the capsaicin in hot peppers may help slow the growth of cancer cells. We’re neither scientists nor doctors, so please don’t take this as medical advice, but we do appreciate that this is something that actually tastes good AND isn’t trying to kill us, for once.
Hot Sauce Cautions
So, with all these amazing benefits, are there any situations when hot sauce might be bad for you? While the sauce itself is pretty positive, we suggest everything in moderation. Don’t go dousing your dinner in The End, or you’re almost definitely going to experience some adverse reactions. Likewise, if you have certain health conditions, it may be wise to limit your sauce intake.
Be Mindful Of All That Sodium
As with everything in life, too much of a good thing can be bad. Some hot sauces have a lot of sodium, so check the label before you dive in—especially if you have a heart condition, high blood pressure, or other sodium-sensitive medical condition. Don’t worry, you don’t have to deprive yourself entirely—just check out one of our low-sodium or very-low-sodium options to find just what the doctor ordered.
Be Careful With Your Sensitive Stomach
If you notice negative effects after consuming hot sauce or spicy foods, such as heartburn, abdominal pain, or diarrhea, then it’s definitely time to back off. In other words, listen to your body. If the hot sauce you use is affecting your digestion in a negative way, it’s probably time to tone it down—consider a mild hot sauce instead.
Bottom line: yes, hot sauce is good for you (nearly superfood status) but should be used in moderation, especially if hot stuff upsets your stomach. Stock up on your favorites and treat yourself—you deserve it!