When’s the last time you really took a look at the hot sauce shelves at the grocery store? Or any fast food (or fast-casual) menu? Whether you’ve just done it, or you’re making a mental note to check next time you head out for a snack or grocery shopping, you’re bound to notice something:
Hot sauces are a big deal.
You’ll find chili pepper names creeping into every corner of our food consciousness. And there’s a marvelously good reason for that. People are becoming addicted to the burn.
But, there’s a lot more to hot sauces than heat. A LOT more.
And, it seems as though – along with the wider variety of sauces – more people are catching onto the health benefits associated with chili peppers and their derivatives (such as hot sauces and extracts). Why all of a sudden? It probably has to do with the increased popularity of hot sauces, but it could also be all the awareness campaigns raised to highlight killer conditions we all hope to avoid.
Hot Sauces Are Loaded with Vitamins and Antioxidants
If you’ve been looking for ways to increase your vitamin intake, but you just can’t deal with another orange or bowl of spinach, we get it. And, we can also recommend that you pick up a new bottle of hot sauce to supplement your vitamin deficiency. Mad Dog is a hell of a lot tastier than a concentrated vitamin and can be added to just about every meal (the jury is still out on whether it works with cereal and milk).
When chili peppers are mashed into hot sauces, you can expect a healthy dose of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and a host of those healthy B Vitamins.
And then, there are antioxidants. Chili peppers are filled with these things – and that’s a good thing. You see, the world is becoming increasingly toxic. It’s not just the terrible things we do to ourselves either (just think of all those boozy nights); the environment we live in takes its toll on our bodies, introducing little devils called free radicals into our systems. These are a problem because they suck electrons away from cells that need them to remain healthy. Antioxidants reverse the effects of free radicals by going through your body, donating electrons to the cells that need them. Brilliant, right?
If the provision of vitamins was all hot sauces did besides offer a heat high that would probably be enough. But that’s not all.
The Big C Takes a Hit from Capsaicin
The vitamins you want from chili peppers are found throughout the flesh of these fruits. Capsaicin is different. You’ll find it in the placenta of the fruit – unless you’re dealing with super-hot peppers and then you’re more likely to find this super hot compound in the same spot as the vitamins. (Incidentally, that’s a nod to the benefits of super hot sauces as you’ll rake in the vitamins plus the capsaicin in one fell swoop.)
And, it’s the capsaicin that appears to have the power to stave off cancer – or to reverse it once it takes hold of your body. It’s been shown time and time again in the laboratory, and we can only hope that we’ll start seeing more serious tests to ensure that capsaicin makes its way into treatment centers. Safer, more consistent treatments are certainly demanded by causes working to improve the lives of cancer sufferers across the globe. And, we should pay more attention to that than the number of hot sauces on the shelves… well… maybe we should be talking more about both.