We love hot sauce, and many of us can’t live without it! We add a few dashes to our meats, veggies, eggs and everything in between. Many folks are brand loyal and will only stick to one hot sauce like Frank’s, Crystal or Louisiana. There are, however, tons of brands out there of sauces from hot to concoctions that will literally burn the roof of your mouth.
Hot is, however, good in many instances because this type of sauce also has amazing health benefits. If you’ve ever wondered about the health benefits of hot sauce, we found some interesting facts about this beloved condiment that just might surprise you:
- Tabasco sauce is the oldest kind of hot sauce and first appeared on the scene in 1868. Today, the hot sauce reigns supreme as one of the best-selling condiments in the country.
- In Africa, there are varieties of popular hot sauces. Harissa is one that comes from Tunisia and is made from a base of red birds eye chili peppers and seasoned with cumin and coriander.
- Why are so many folks addicted to hot sauce? Well, eating the hot stuff makes your body release endorphins (the body’s feel-good chemical). Endorphins are typically associated with good things, they can actually help to relieve pain as well, which is exactly what happens when it comes to spicy food. They do this by blocking the nerve’s ability to transmit pain signals. The neurotransmitter dopamine is also released which can give you a high when you consume hot foods.
- People who suffer from depression can benefit from consuming hot sauce with capsaicin. The active hot ingredient in chili peppers, capsaicin, is a powerful treatment for conditions associated with poor circulation. In addition, capsaicin can improve poor appetite often associated with moderate to severe depression. A small study published in the journal Appetite in 2014 also found that capsaicin increased the sensation of feeling full after eating, and decreased participants’ desire to eat after dinner. In the last several years, scientists have also been studying the ways by which capsaicin appears to slow the growth of cancer cells in the lab. Lastly, capsaicin-based sauces can act as natural decongestants and have anti-flu properties.
- Sriracha fans will find that the sweetened chili sauce of choice comes with a package deal of added sugar. And hot sauces like our beloved Louisiana is full of sodium.
- It’s not uncommon to sweat when you consume a hot sauce that is a definite three-alarm brand. It just makes sense… if eating or drinking a specific food raises your body temperature, then your body will try to cool itself by sweating. Often called gustatory sweating or gustatory hyperhidrosis (and sometimes called Frey’s syndrome) is food-related sweating.
- Drinking milk is the best way to cool down an extremely hot sauce. The protein in milk, casein, can break down the capsaicin.
- Hot sauce can put the kibosh on your carb cravings and on your sweet tooth as well.
- Hot sauce contains essential vitamins like A and C, minerals, antioxidants and has anti-aging properties. A few dashes of the hot stuff can also help decrease blood pressure and reduce inflammation.
- Smoked jalapeños, more commonly called chipotle peppers, are high in two phytonutrients (lutein and zeaxanthin) that help your eyes in a big way. Peppers and eyes don’t typically mix, but in this case, the phytonutrients protect against macular degeneration, night blindness, and cataracts.