I love hot sauce! Not a meal goes by that I don’t reach for the Tabasco sauce, the Sriracha sauce, or some of the spicy salsa that I have come to love during my frequent trips throughout Mexico — hot sauce capital of the Western Hemisphere. It’s gotten to the point that my food just tastes better when it’s spicy. My friends and family always tell me that hot sauce is going to burn a hole in my stomach, and I’ve been worried that peptic ulcers are in my future if I keep eating so much of the spicy liquid goodness. The good news is, I may not have to worry about that anymore!
Debunking the Myth: Hot Sauce and Stomach Problems
We’ve all heard that spicy food can cause stomach problems, but that isn’t actually the case. While spicy food and hot peppers will cause your stomach to produce more acid, they won’t produce enough acid to eat through your very acid-resistant stomach lining. In fact, chili peppers and hot sauces help to fight stomach problems! How do they do this?
- They kill bacteria in your stomach. Bacteria can cause all kinds of digestive and bowel disorders, but flooding your system with that spicy red sauce can kill those bacteria before they cause problems.
- They stimulate the stomach lining. When that spicy chili pepper hot sauce hits your stomach, it stimulates the cells in your stomach lining to produce more of the juices that protect it from the acid breaking down your food!
(Information courtesy of WHFoods)
What a great reason for me to keep on eating chili! Now, there is some truth to the fact that chili pepper and hot sauce can cause problems in your stomach, including:
Pain from Ulcers
If you already have an ulcer, the hot sauce will make it very painful for your poor stomach.
Gastroesophageal reflux disorder is acid reflux that has burned the lining of your esophagus, and it is caused when there is too much stomach acid floating around. If you eat too much hot sauce, it will cause increased acid production and make your acid reflux worse.
If you are intolerant to chilies or you just have a delicate stomach, irritable bowel syndrome can be the result of eating too much hot sauce.
Did You Know: Chili peppers are a great source of vitamin C? They contain more vitamin C per gram than even superstars like lemons and oranges do!
Why You Should Eat Hot Sauce Despite the Burn
Is there a valid reason why you should suffer through your burning taste buds in order to eat that hot sauce? You’d be amazed at what spicy food and chili peppers can do for you:
- Thermogenesis — This is the fancy term for your inner thermostat being turned up a few degrees. By raising your core body temperature, you will continue to burn calories and fat even after you are finished eating. While there is a lot that scientists don’t know about thermogenesis, it is believed that it can make fat burning a lot easier. After all, fat has to cool in order to solidify, so keeping your body temperature high can ensure that the fat is easier for your body to burn!
- Metabolism Boosting — Studies have shown that vitamin C is one of the best metabolism-boosting nutrients around, as it prevents oxidative stress in your body. When your body’s cells are dying off (oxidation) from age, they work more slowly. By preventing this oxidation, you are ensuring that your body can work at proper speeds. The capsaicin in chili peppers will also helps to give your metabolism that extra boost that will promote fat burning and weight loss!
- Mood Enhancing — Have you ever felt that rush you get when you eat really spicy food? Once all of the panting, sweating, and heavy breathing is done, you feel a lot better! This is because spicy foods cause your body to release endorphins, as a study done by the State of New York University at Buffalo showed . When you eat hot sauce, you feel better – once you’ve recovered from the powerful burn of course!
- Circulation Improving — A number of studies have shown that eating chili peppers can help to improve the health of your heart by stimulating your circulatory system. A press release by Science Daily stated that capsaicin can help to lower cholesterol, reduce hypertension, prevent clots, and make pumping blood a lot easier on your heart!
Lifehack: Hot Sauces like Tabasco have some pretty amazing uses! Some people sprinkle it in birdseed to shoo away squirrels, while others pour it liberally on their food to prevent ol’ Fido from eating it. A bit applied to your nails can stop you from chewing on them, and adding them into a fruit salad with some simple syrup can give that fruity goodness a tasty kick!
Here’s a video showing the benefits of cayenne pepper.
These are just the health reasons, but there are many other tasty reasons to try the spicy sauce:
- It makes your food taste better. There’s no denying that a dash of hot sauce or a sprinkle of chili pepper can make that tasteless dish a whole lot more enjoyable.
- It helps you eat more slowly, and eat less. After all, if your mouth is burning, there’s no way you’ll stuff down more spicy or hot food until the pain has gone away.
- It’s low in calories. The average hot sauce is fairly low in calories – though high in sodium – so it’s a low-calorie way to make your food more enjoyable.