We can thank Beyonce for thrusting hot sauce into the spotlight after she went so far as to call out to the spicy condiment in her hit single “Formation,” singing “I have hot sauce in my bag, swag.” So what’s behind the hot sauce fervor? Could for once a celebrity craze be more than just talk and product promotion? Are there any actual health benefits to this zesty condiment? The answer may surprise you.
Long before hot sauce was powering up the ranks on the Billboard Top 100, it has been used by professional and home chefs alike in sauces, seasonings, and even salads. There’s no denying its ability to pack in flavor in a small quantity. A little goes a long way. But that’s not all it can do. Hot sauce is packed full of health benefits and once you know just how helpful it can be to your health, you may follow Beyonce’s lead and keep a bottle in your bag, too.
Hot sauce is packed full of capsaicin, a nutrient that has been linked with a reduction in blood pressure.1 If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, your risk of heart disease increases significantly.2 Tack on high blood pressure, and your risk for heart attack and stroke increases even further. Adding foods rich in capsaicin to your meal plan may help to reduce blood pressure, lowering your heart disease risk.
One word of caution: commercial hot sauces can often be packed full of sodium, which can elevate blood pressure when consumed in excess. To offset this, go easy with the condiment quantity or use hot peppers themselves for flavor instead.
Capsaicin provides more than just heart health benefits. This nutrient doesn’t just heat up your taste buds, it fires up your metabolism, too. Your body essentially ‘heats up’ after consuming capsaicin, allowing you to burn more calories, making weight loss easier.3 Although it’s not an excuse to skip out on the gym, every little bit helps when you are trying to shed those last few pounds. Capsaicin also provides powerful anti-inflammatory benefits, so if you struggle to exercise due to joint pain, adding a splash of hot sauce to your daily diet may just provide you with a bit of relief.4
When it comes to adding hot sauce to your diabetes meal plan, its benefits may not stop at weight reduction. Although more research needs to be conducted, animal studies have shown that dietary capsaicin decreased insulin resistance in obese mice.5 If this holds true for humans, spicing up your meal plan may be key to managing diabetes.
There’s a lot to love about hot sauce. It’s a low calorie condiment that gives food plenty of flavor. But don’t overdo it! Using hot sauce excessively throughout the day can cause you to exceed your daily recommended intake of sodium of 2300 mg, which may have a negative impact on heart health.6