Here’s why your spice addiction does a body good.
Your friends and family say you’re obsessed. A masochist. You douse everything you eat in hot, fiery, pain-inducing sauce—and you can’t get enough. Good news, fire-breather: Your hankering for heat is actually healthy. Here are four spicy tidbits to educate your loved ones with, ehem, we mean, reasons to love hot sauce.
1. Hot sauce is a dieter’s BFF. Most hot sauces, like Tapatio or Tabasco, are made with ingredients like spices, peppers, water, and vinegar, which means they’re low in calories (about 5 cals per serving). So whether you prefer a dash or a downpour, have at it. (Just watch the sodium if you’re trying to cut back on your salt consumption.)
2. Hot sauce pumps up the flavor. Adding hot sauce to your favorite eats can help make bland foods more palatable, which may leave you more satisfied and even help you eat less. Ever tried cauliflower with Buffalo sauce? Eggs with Cholula? You get the picture.
3. Hot sauce may help you burn (a few) more calories. Not only is hot sauce low in calories itself, but it might actually help your body sizzle more calories too. How? The heat from the spices can increase your body temperature (those beads of sweat dripping down your face mean your body is working harder) and light a (figurative) fire under you, giving you an energy boost. Even though the extra calories burned aren’t enough to really tip the scales—one study found that hot sauce boosted calorie burn at most about 0.25 kcals/min for 30 to 60 minutes post meal, or an extra 15 calories total—every little bit helps, right?
4. Hot sauce may help you live longer. Despite the “death” label on some sauces, research has shown that consuming spicy foods regularly (as part of an overall healthy diet), may help boost longevity and lower risk of chronic disease.
So if you love to eat food so spicy it makes you sweat, pour so much hot sauce on your meal it’s almost unrecognizable, or keep a bottle of the fiery stuff in your purse or car, we salute you. #SpiceUpYourHealth
Tapatio. Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Agriculture Branded Food Database. (Accessed on January 3, 2018 at https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/84197)
Tabasco. Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Agriculture Branded Food Database. (Accessed on January 3, 2018 at https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/1303)
Reasonable quantities of red pepper may help curb appetite. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University, 2011. (Accessed on January 3, 2018 at http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2011/110425MattesPepper.html)
Consumption of spicy foods and total and cause specific mortality: population based cohort study. Beijing, China: Peking University Health Science Center, 2015. (Accessed on January 3, 2018 at http://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h3942)
Acute Effects of Capsaicin on Energy Expenditure and Fat Oxidation in Negative Energy Balance. Maastricht, The Netherlands: Department of Human Biology, School for Nutrition, Toxicology and Metabolism (NUTRIM), 2013. (Accessed on January 3, 2018 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3699483)
The effects of hedonically acceptable red pepper doses on thermogenesis and appetite. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University, 2011. (Accessed on January 3, 2018 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3022968)