For many people and cultures around the world hot sauce or as Caribbean people say pepper (“peppa”) sauce is not just a condiment but a way of life. It’s carried in bags, on airplanes and proudly stashed away at work or home to make an appearance at every snack, meal or peppered mango craving. However make no mistake, it’s not just for those with a panache for the spicy a la Beyonce but also surprisingly it’s a condiment like mustard that can actually be good for your health.
Hot peppers or more specifically chili peppers contain a substance called capsaicin, this is what gives peppers their characteristic pungence and that intense spiciness when eaten. Basically the hotter the chili pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. For e.g Habanero and Scotch bonnet peppers are some of the hottest chili peppers. While jalapenos are lower down on the Scoville heat scale followed by milder varieties. Now for the good stuff, did you know that chili peppers are basically a hot super-food, no pun intended. Chili peppers have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol, inflammation and aid as a natural blood thinner for those suffering from blood clots. In cultures where hot pepper are a mainstay there is typically a lower rate of heart attack, stroke and pulmonary disorders.You would think these little natural power houses would stop there but oh no! While most people simply tout the capsaicin wonders of chili peppers they also contain a high amount of vitamin C, A and E which makes them amazing antioxidants - think glowing beautiful skin & slowing down the aging process basically the the blessed fountain of youth! Have a cold? Not only will chugging some sauce help with reducing the duration of your cold due to the high levels of vitamin C it also helps to reduce congestion and any pesky pains you may experience as a result of colds or flues.
A Harvard study has even validated chili peppers as a means of lowering the rate of obesity, cancer and essentially decreasing mortality risks. So next time you see someone with their sauce just know that it’s not just about the spicy! Well ok, alright, it might be about the spicy and in the case of some sauces the delicious flavor but good to know that there are a bevy of added benefits to getting that "hot sauce in the bag swag!"