Is Hot Sauce Healthy?
Mar 08, 2021
Somewhere in the health food frenzy between chia seed smoothies and kale burgers internet wellness gurus failed to spotlight one of the planet’s healthiest foods: hot stuff, particularly chilli peppers and hot sauces.
We’re not sure how modern health food trends skipped over hot foods entirely, but we’re about to set the record straight on behalf of hot sauce addicts everywhere. So is hot sauce healthy? Well, buckle up, here are the science-backed facts behind why spicy foods containing chilli peppers are so ridiculously good for your overall health.
Hot Sauce: The Benefits
We all know the flavor benefits of using hot sauce on just about everything! It has even found a way to sneak into our desserts! But have you ever wondered about our body’s response to this flavor explosion?
Well, we are about to break down what hot sauce does to your body. Full disclosure, when you eat spicy foods a huge sensory overload happens. You may have heard of a little molecule called capsaicin. This molecule is found in chili peppers and is in charge of delivering the heat!
First things first, when the hot sauce touches your tongue, the capsaicin tricks your mouth into thinking that it is literally hot by binding to a tastebud sensor called the Vanilloid Receptor 1. This receptor is the same one that tells your brain that you are, literally, on fire!
We know this sounds terrifying! But it does explain why most of us work up a sweat while eating these spicy sauces. By confusing the brain and making it think you are literally on fire, results in all of the typical side-effects we see from eating hot sauce. Think sweaty forehead, excess saliva, and your face turning tomato red. This may sound like a warning that hot sauce is bad for you, but these spicy sauces are actually chock full of a variety of health benefits!
Hot Sauce Improves Metabolism and Promotes Weight Loss
As it turns out, hot foods torch more than just your tastebuds— they’re also shown to burn fat by increasing caloric expenditure. If science isn’t your strong suit, don’t sweat it—this one’s easy to grasp. You see, capsaicin (that famous chemical found in chilli peppers and hot sauces) temporarily increases your body’s temperature. To cool itself down, the regulatory system has to work a little harder. And that hard work? It’s fueled by calories.
The harder your body has to work in order to recover from spicy food’s irresistible heat, the more fat it ends up burning. Following the consumption of hot foods like chilli peppers and hot sauce, your body’s metabolism is boosted by as much as 25% for up to 3 hours, making hot sauce an excellent addition to any weight loss diet.
So when you are wondering if hot sauce is something that is good to include in your diet, go ahead and pour it on! Hot sauce burns fat and is super healthy for weight loss and your metabolism. It is also way healthier than other condiment alternatives. The amount of sugar in hot sauce is far lower than that of ketchup, so hot sauce is a far healthier option than your ordinary ketchup. Hot sauce and fries anyone?
It is good to note here that hot sauce doesn’t negate the effects of unhealthy, processed meals. So if you are on a diet, the crowd-pleasing combination of hot sauce and eggs is definitely a healthy choice!
Choosing the Right Hot Sauce
Another factor to consider is choosing the right hot sauce. There are some super healthy hot sauces out there, the healthiest hot sauce has the least amount of added sugar, and usually, only contains natural ingredients and no preservatives. Like our Jalanasco and Habanasco fermented sauces (which are also great hot sauces for gut health!). Hot sauces like these are the best for weight loss as they have maximum flavor but minimum calories.
Looking for healthy recipes that include hot sauce? Check out our recipe developers smoky roast veggies or a super easy deviled eggs recipe!
Hot Sauce Eases Cold and Sinus Symptoms
Feeling stuffy? A dash of the hot stuff can burn away a few of the symptoms of colds and sinus infections according to this study conducted by the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center. Why? Capsaicin—the chemical compound that gives chilli peppers their zing—reduces inflammation, which allows nasal discharge or nasal obstruction to soften.
Outside of providing immediate relief, capsaicin may even help clear up sinus infections altogether. Chilli peppers and hot sauces are also mega-rich in Vitamin C, one of the world’s most popular homeopathic cold remedies. This means they help in stopping an infection in its tracks before you even have the chance to come down with a case of sniffles.
So the consensus is that hot sauce is really good for your immune system, which in times like these, is super important! Next time you are feeling a bit on the fluey side, try and add a dash of vinegar-based hot sauce (like our Jalansco – Fermented Hot Sauce) to some hot water, ginger, and honey, and let it work its magic!
Hot Sauce Boosts Your Mood
If hot sauce puts a big ole grin on your face it’s more than just irresistible flavor at play. Why?
The capsaicin in spicy foods triggers the pain receptors in your TRPV1 nerves, which trick your body into believing your mouth is literally on fire. That might not sound awesome, but the side effects are undeniably pleasant.
In response to the fake emergency, your TRPV1 nerves signal your body to dispatch a flood of feel-good chemicals. Once it hits your system, those mood-boosting endorphins give your brain a subtle euphoric buzz which some compare to a “runner’s high.”
Do you know what else boosts your mood? Good sex! Yes, we went there. Chilies are considered to be one of the best aphrodisiacs out there so a healthy dose of hot sauce can also spice up your bedroom.
Sounds like a win-win to us!
Hot Sauce May Suppress Cancer
If you didn’t already have enough reason to douse everything you eat in hot sauce, spicy food’s promising ability to fight cancer will do it. It’s a lofty claim, yes—but more and more groundbreaking studies suggest the same exciting conclusion: cancer hates spicy foods.
The scientific community still has research to do in order to prove this. Ultimately hot foods are far from a cure-all when it comes to a disease as serious as cancer. However, eating capsaicin consistently forces some cancer cells into a process called apoptosis. Which is basically just a fancy word for “cellular suicide.”
The result? Suppression of cancerous cell growth and the slow-down of tumor advancement. In the future, it might even allow for better management of the disease as a whole.
Hot Sauce Helps You Live Longer
A big claim? Yes. But we’re just repeating science-backed findings. In 2015, a research study of 500,000 individuals concluded something that had hot sauce addicts around the world rejoicing. After tracking participants for seven years, they found that those who ate spicy food at least 3-7 times per week had a 14% lower chance of death.
Too Much of a Good Thing – Hot Sauce Health Risks
As we know, it can be possible to have too much of a good thing. Eating hot sauce every day has some amazing health benefits but there are also some downsides. The health risks of eating hot sauce vary from person to person, so only you know your limits and if you have a sensitive stomach, then things can go south quite quickly; if you catch our drift. There have also been reports on acid reflux in some patients who eat too much of the stuff. Although, some people can eat hot sauce every day and have no problems, so it is really up to you!
There are myths on whether you can eat hot sauce while you’re pregnant, and the answer is a resounding yes! There is no evidence that it would harm you or your little one. Thank goodness, nine months without hot sauce would be awful!
The bottom line? Hot sauce is healthy and is guaranteed to enrich your day-to-day existence by adding a little zest to your food. But it might also add a few days to your life and improve your overall health—a fact which may make our products taste even better than usual next time you take a bite.