If you’re like a lot of people, you might like to kick your dishes up a notch.
After all, what better way to appreciate pretty much any dish — from a classic sloppy joe to creamy mac and cheese — than to boost it with some spice?
Hot peppers, the staple ingredient in hot sauce and all things spicy, have been a favorite around the world for centuries.
But have you ever wondered why? After all, eating something that makes your eyes water and your nose run doesn’t sound very pleasant, but people love it.
And it turns out, the love of the burn is actually doing great things for your body. While capsaicin — the chemical that causes the burning, teary-eyed sensation — is an irritant, spice is a great health booster and can help with everything from pain management to weight loss.
Of course, everyone’s tolerance for spice is different, so start off mild and increase the heat gradually until you find your perfect spice level. So the next time you’re looking to add some flavor to a meal, consider a dash of hot sauce or a sprinkle of crushed red pepper. Your taste buds will light up, but your body will thank you!
Learn about some of the ways hot sauce can help you out, and let us know if you prefer things spicy or mild in the comments!
Spicy Benefit #1: Adds Flavor Without The Calories
If you’re watching your weight, it can seem like all the good, flavorful food is off limits. But not necessarily!
Hot sauce is great for adding flavor to just about anything — pasta, eggs, meat, and even vegetables — but it doesn’t come with added calories.
The exact amount of calories will vary by brand and flavor, but on average, a tablespoon of hot sauce has only six calories.
Spicy Benefit #2: Clears Up Congestion
Spicy things make your nose run, and that’s perfect if you have a head cold or sinus congestion.
If you’re feeling stuffy, add a dash of spiciness to your meal, and your head will clear right up. That’s because the capsaicin is not only cleaning out your sinuses, but also giving them a health boost. A study has shown that the chemical can also ease sinus infections.
Just be sure to have the tissues handy.
Spicy Benefit #3: Boosts Metabolism
Hot sauce is great for kickstarting your metabolism and getting things moving inside.
Not only does it contain capsaicin, but most hot sauces are also full of Vitamin C, which is a great metabolism booster.
Add a splash of hot sauce to your scrambled eggs to get your metabolism going strong for the rest of the day.
Spicy Benefit #4: Maintains Healthy Blood Pressure
Capsaicin is full of all kinds of health-boosting secrets, and one of them is its ability to lower blood pressure.
High blood pressure can lead to all kinds of serious complications, and hot sauce is one way to keep your blood pressure down.
It might seem counterintuitive, since hot sauce makes your taste buds all kinds of agitated, but a study has shown that capsaicin promotes nitric oxide release in the blood, which lowers blood pressure.
Spicy Benefit #5: It’s Full Of Antioxidants
The peppers in hot sauce are colorful and shiny, and it’s those bright colors that let you know they’re full of health-saving antioxidants.
Each type of pepper has its own unique blend of antioxidants, but they all have some amazing properties. Red chili peppers, for example, slow tumor growth and can inhibit some types of cancer.
Chipotle peppers are great for your eyes and protect against macular degeneration and cataracts.
Spicy Benefit #6: Protects The Prostate
Capsaicin has been shown to suppress cancerous cell growth in the prostate, which is a really big deal considering that 14 percent of men in the U.S. will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives.
The spicy chemical has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancerous cells at almost all stages.
Spicy Benefit #7: Helps You Eat Less
When you’re eating something spicy, you’re not going to take a huge bite. Instead, you’re going to nibble a bit more slowly so you don’t set our whole mouth ablaze.
Eating more slowly will help you savor your food, and you’ll find that you’ll feel less hungry and more satisfied with less food.
Spicy Benefit #8: Soothes Pain
Sure, when your tongue feels like it’s on fire, it seems like capsaicin causes pain, and it can!
But it’s also the main ingredient in a lot of topical pain relief creams. The heat caused by the chemical soothes pain and relaxes muscles.
But you can also ingest it to feel its soothing benefits. In response to the burn, your brain will release endorphins, and you’ll be left feeling great.
Spicy Benefit #9: Puts You In A Good Mood
Another thing endorphins are good for is boosting your mood. That’s why digging into a plate of spicy nachos feels so great.
The flood of endorphins is actually there to lessen the pain of the capsaicin, but the result is that you’re in a great mood after you polish off those wings.
Spicy Benefit #10: Keeps You Young
A study has shown that people who regularly eat spicy food tend to live longer than those who don’t.
That’s because hot sauce has all these great health benefits, and also positively affects gut bacteria, leading to a decrease in ailments like diabetes and heart disease.
Are you a spice lover? Or do you prefer to keep things a little calmer?