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Can Hot Sauce Be Good for You?

Is hot sauce good for you or potentially an unhealthy addition to your meal?

For many countries around the world, hot sauces or hot pepper sauces are an essential part of cooking but is this just for flavor or are there health benefits to using hot sauce?

The basic answer is yes! This condiment can be a great way to add not only flavor to your meal but also added nutritional benefits. Hot sauce is typically made of hot peppers, vinegar, and salt. Other ingredients can include garlic, sugar, chilies, paprika, and other spices.

Peppers contain lots of phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are not minerals or vitamins but rather substances that are made by plants to help fight off viruses, fungi, bacteria, insects and protect during environmental changes. Phytochemicals often are responsible for the color and pigmentation of fruits and vegetables. Hot peppers contain capsicum oleoresin, which is considered to have anti-bacterial activity and may even help promote resistance to some foodborne infections by changing the pH and thereby making the environment unfriendly to bacteria.

Red peppers get their red pigment from keto carotenoids, which can work as an antioxidant to help neutralize free radicals that cause damage to your cells that can lead to diseases. Furthermore, the phytochemicals in peppers and chilies can bolster your cell’s defenses and support healthy immune function, which can be attacked by free radicals.

In addition to the phytochemicals, peppers contain vitamin C, potassium and vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps with making non-essential amino acids, which are then in turn used to make the cells in your body. It also helps to produce other body chemicals like insulin, antibodies, and hemoglobin. The potassium found in peppers helps your body regulate fluid and mineral balance in the cells and helps your muscles contract. Potassium is also an essential part of nerve transmissions and helping normalize your blood pressure by blunting sodium’s impact.

Peppers are typically a good source of vitamin C! Vitamin C has a number of functions in the body including helping your body absorb iron and folate, keeping your capillary walls and blood vessels firm, producing collagen, and helping to heal cuts and wounds. This is all in addition to the antioxidant benefits that help keep your gums healthy, protects you from bruising, defense from infections and inhibits damage to body cells.

If your hot sauce contains garlic and other spices, the list continues for why hot sauce is a nutritious addition to your meals and cooking!

[Image via Shutterstock]

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