Hot, hot hot! Turns Out Hot Sauce Is Good For You
This news item popped up on our wire service yesterday:
"Americans consumed 400-percent more hot sauce during the pandemic. That may actually be a good thing. The National Library of Science says hot sauce reduces swelling, lessens arthritis and can make your toothache go away. It's the capsaicin that does it. That's the chemical compound that makes the pepper hot and that's what you want. The American Heart Association says capsaicin can help you lose weight because it speeds metabolism. It can improve your heart health and reduces stress and anxiety. And doctors say there's no such thing as too much hot sauce."
Love Chalula? Tabasco? Frank's Red Hot?
You now have scientific permission to go crazy with the hot stuff.
The website healthline.org devotes plenty of time to the benefits of hot sauce and it's main chemical ingredient, capsaicin. The benefits are numerous:
- Pain relief. Capsaicin is sometimes applied topically to help reduce pain. It works by stimulating pain receptors in your body and may help treat conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and diabetic neuropathy, a type of diabetes-related nerve damage.
- Weight loss. Some research suggests that capsaicin increases your metabolism, boosts fat burning, and decreases appetite, all of which may benefit weight loss.
- Decreased inflammation. Test-tube studies reveal that this compound may lower certain markers of inflammation.
- Cancer prevention. While research in humans is needed, test-tube studies indicate that capsaicin may slow the growth and spread of certain types of cancer cells.
Of course, no food is perfect and there are side effects associated with hot sauce. Due to its capsaicin content, hot sauce may cause certain side effects, including acid reflux, stomach cramps, and a burning sensation on the skin (that's not where it goes anyway!).
These are minor and rare side effects. In fact, the biggest problem with hot sauce is that we don't eat enough of it.
It’s important to note that hot sauce is typically used in small amounts. Most people only consume 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 mL) at a time. Therefore, because most studies use very high doses of capsaicin, it’s unclear how much hot sauce you would have to eat to obtain similar results.
Here are a couple of my favorites (try them on eggs, meat, Mexican food or just about anything savory that need s little "kick!"
- Yellowbird Jalapeno Condiment -- Use sparingly. It's not super hot, but it does have a very strong flavor, so light use of this tasty sauce is recommended, or else it will overpower your food.
- Trader Joe's Green Dragon Sauce -- This stuff does pack a kick, but it is sooo good, you don't mind having to put out the fire. The only drawback is you can only get this stuff at Trader Joe's, and we don't have one here in Southern Utah.
- Frank's Red Hot Powder -- I know this article is about sauces, but thios powdered form is a perfect spice blend to compliment your favorite dish. I actually like it better than Frank's Red Hot Sauce. You have much more control of how much and where it goes.
- Texas Pete's -- Good flavor, although not that spicy as far as hot sauces go. Biggest problem: It's made in North Carolina, not Texas (but then would you buy North Carolina Pete's? Probably not).
So what's you favorite hot sauce?
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