Tabasco is one of the most well-known blends of hot sauce. Made from peppers, vinegar and salt, the resulting bold and intense flavor can spice up a wide variety of dishes. While it doesn't supply much in terms of vitamins and minerals, Tabasco and many other hot pepper sauces offer up a few other health benefits.
Nutrition of Tabasco
One teaspoon of original Tabasco contains zero calories and zero grams of fat. Despite its lack of essential nutrients, this zero-calorie condiment can still have a valuable place in your healthy eating plan. Taking the place of other higher calorie condiments such as sour cream or gravy, Tabasco serves up some serious flavor in a small volume, guaranteed to jazz up any meal without adding to your waistline.
One potential drawback to Tabasco is that one teaspoon contains around 35 milligrams of sodium, which is about 2 percent of the daily limit recommended by the American Heart Association. Other flavors, such as the green jalapeno or garlic pepper flavor, contain about 150 milligrams, or 10 percent of your daily limit. While small amounts of Tabasco may not be problematic, for those watching their sodium intake, it could be something to monitor.
Capsaicin, the chemical responsible for giving hot peppers their spicy kick, can also be beneficial outside of just making your salsa a force to be reckoned with. Used topically, creams or ointments containing capsaicin can be helpful in relieving pain from many different conditions including nerve pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia and lower back pain. It works by inhibiting Substance P, a chemical that transmits pain signals to the brain, thus creating a potent anti-inflammatory response.
Capsaicin also has powerful antibacterial properties that can help fight and prevent chronic sinus infections. The heat from the hot sauce stimulates secretions which help clear mucus from your nose, relieving nasal congestion.
Some studies have suggested that capsaicin can help to suppress your appetite, aiding in weight loss. According to a 2009 study from Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that when healthy subjects consumed a combination of capsaicin and green tea, they tended to feel less hungry and take in fewer calories. In addition, another study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that this spicy condiment may help to decrease ghrelin, a hormone involved in promoting hunger.
Overall, initial studies have shown that there could be more to hot sauce than just heat. And with its negligible fat and calories, Tabasco provides a tasty and healthier alternative that will boost flavor without boosting your overall intake.
Sarah Dreifke is a freelance writer based in DeKalb, IL with a passion for nutrition education and the prevention of chronic disease. She holds a Bachelor of Science in both Dietetics and Life Sciences Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently, she is working towards a combined Master's Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics as well as a dietetic internship at Northern Illinois University.