As the name suggests, hot sauce is a spicy sauce or a salsa made initially from chilli peppers, vinegar, and salt. Additional ingredients like garlic, ginger, tomatoes, onion, sriracha, cilantro, carrots, assorted herbs, etc., can increase the taste and flavour of hot sauce.
The conventional red-hot sauce is usually made by boiling a blended mixture of red peppers, red chilly, tomatoes, onion, and garlic with some olive oil and salt and is cooled shortly after.
It is a condiment that usually accompanies sandwiches, burgers, tacos, burritos, fries, pizza, tortillas, dumplings, and fried or steamed vegetables. One even adds them to salads for their signature hot, spicy, and savoury flavour.
Process of Making Hot Sauce
The commercial hot sauce takes a long time to produce. The companies select the right type of chilli peppers for their sauce, and right after harvesting them, they are mixed with salt and mashed.
This mash is left to ferment in sealed-wooden containers for as long as three years! After fermentation, the batch is mixed with vinegar and is mixed for two weeks constantly.
This process infuses the fermented flavour of chilli peppers into the vinegar. Further, the seeds and the pulp are removed from the slurry for refinement and filled in bottles for sale.
Varieties of Hot Sauce
Some popular varieties of hot sauces are Tabasco Pepper Sauce, Sriracha Hot Sauce, Bhut Jolokia Hot Sauce, Schezwan Sauce, extra hot, Buffalo-style, Green Hot Sauce, Cholula Hot Sauce, Habanero, Peri-Peri Hot Sauce, Harissa, Black Bean Hot Sauce, etc. While there are hotter sauces with higher Scoville heat numbers, they are not very widely available as the ones mentioned above.
There are many different varieties based on their origin-places like Shatta from Egypt, Awaze from Ethiopia, Shito from Ghana, Muhammara from Syria, Gochujang from Korea, Sambal from Indonesia, Salsa Picante from Mexico, Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce from Jamaica, Mustard Pepper Sauce from Trinidad, Pebre from Chile, etc.
Anything with too many preservatives and additives is not very good for you. Though there is enough evidence of positive side effects of hot sauce, they are not very conclusive.
Capsaicin is the main ingredient responsible for all the health benefits that hot sauce provides. Also, some specific additions like sriracha, turmeric, cumin, olive oil, cilantro, onions, etc., offer health benefits. Each one of us reacts to a spicy condiment differently. Listen to your body and palate for the same.
Nutritional Facts of Hot Sauce
As per USDA, 100 g of a store-bought hot sauce offers the following amount of nutrients:
- Calories: 0 kcal
- Protein: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 0 g
- Sodium: 3400 mg
- Fat: 0 g
- Cholesterol: 0 g
The HealthifyMe Note
It is evident from the nutritional information that hot sauce does not add any nutritional benefits to the food. It does not increase the calorie count either if it is in limited amounts. So, it is essential to note that hot sauce cannot be regarded as a healthy condiment but does not tamper with health.
Adds Flavour to Food
The hot sauce provides a spicy, savoury taste to food without adding to the calorie count. From the nutrition data, even having a whopping 100 g of hot sauce does not provide more than six calories. However, this is because the ingredients are pretty low in calories.
You can serve it with a low-calorie salad, sandwich, eggs, etc., to make a tasty and very healthy meal. Low-carb, keto, vegan, vegetarian, and other speciality diet-following people wouldn’t have to worry about hot sauce. Most hot sauce preparations also can have a trace amount of vitamin C.
Hot Sauce and Its Impact on Health
From the nutritional information, one might think that hot sauce does not impart any health benefits. Still, it is not totally harmful. The ingredients used in making the sauce may impart some health benefits. Given below are some ways in which hot sauce may impact your health.
Impact on Metabolism and Body Weight
As per research by NCBI, there is a correlation between hot sauce and metabolism. The effect between hot sauce and metabolism is due to capsaicin. It is an active compound found abundantly in chilli peppers (one of the main ingredients of hot sauce). It plays a crucial role in promoting metabolism.
Another study explains that eating hot sauce every day can reduce up to 50 more calories. Another study indicates that the consumption of red pepper decreases appetite due to capsaicin. In addition, it lowers ghrelin levels, a hunger-inducing hormone.
A hot sauce can affect weight loss as these ingredients make you satiated faster. You can substitute a cheesy dressing with a small quantity of hot sauce. Several studies suggest that hot and spicy condiments stimulate your taste buds and decrease hunger and cravings for fatty and salty foods.
Impact on Cardiovascular Health
Eating hot sauce in limited amounts may reduce the risk of CVD and other heart diseases. Also, capsaicin helps lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and increases HDL (good cholesterol).
A study also adds that consuming hot sauce significantly reduced the number of triglycerides, C-reactive protein, and phospholipid transfer protein activities that harm heart health.
Blood Pressure Regulation
Capsaicin helps regulate cholesterol levels. Also, according to 2010 research, hot sauce and other spicy foods can lower blood pressure. Therefore, this connects to why you feel joyful and maybe euphoric after eating hot, spicy meals. When you eat spicy food, your body thinks you’re in pain.
In response to pain, the body releases endorphins and dopamine. It is similar to the high you feel after a strenuous exercise or a runner’s high. In the case of blood pressure, it causes the release of neuropeptide Y. It is a nitric oxide derivative that releases into the blood due to capsaicin.
When you consume spicy foods, your body assumes you are in distress. The release of endorphins is responsible for that euphoric sensation.
The release of something called neuropeptide Y is triggered. It can also help with anxiety and stress, blood vessel constriction, improve your circadian rhythm, and even make you want to reduce alcohol consumption.
Reduced Cancer Risk
The research found that capsaicin has anti-cancer properties. It can tweak numerous genes involved in cancer cell survival, growth arrest, angiogenesis, and metastasis, lowering cancer-causing effects. Another study stated that capsaicin retarded the production of cancer cells in the prostate region by up to 80%.
Impact on Immunity
As per a study, capsaicin’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties are vital in boosting immunity by strengthening the immune cells, which help combat minor disease-causing pathogens.
In addition, capsaicin can also drive resident immune cells in the brain (microglia) to migrate, which helps clean up pollutants and waste.
Impact on Type-2 Diabetes
Research suggests that capsaicin-rich hot sauce can help reduce insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia, a condition in which your body produces too much insulin. Type-2 diabetes is caused by having too much insulin in your blood which is the general notion.
Impact on Pain and Congestion
Capsaicin may diminish the effectiveness of topical pain treatment. According to research, it produces inside heat when consumed. As a response, your body produces endorphins that induce feelings of happiness.
The hot, spicy flavour hot sauce adds a slightly burning sensation to your nasal tract, clearing mucus clotting and allowing you to breathe easily. It is an old way of curing a common cold, sore throat, and a running nose.
Negative Impact on Your Health
It is essential to keep an eye on the Scoville heat number. The hottest sauce is around 9 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU) named Mad Dog 357 Plutonium.
People suffering from stomach ailments or digestive disorders must consume milder versions of 450-500 SHU hot sauces. It would help if you chose as per your tolerance level. Eating hotter sauces than you can take will burn out the mucus lining in your stomach, which can cause severe acidity and inflammation.
Another critical factor is the number of additives added to the commercially-available hot sauce. It would help if you avoided hot sauces with excess preservatives, stabilisers, artificial food colours, and flavour enhancers.
The HealthifyMe Note
Eating a lot of hot sauce can aggravate certain medical conditions by producing more acid and increasing inflammation. Therefore, it is better to avoid such condiments if you have a sensitive stomach, IBS, or frequent heartburn.
However, it is worth noting that eating hot sauce in limited amounts reduces unnecessary inflammation and does otherwise if had incessantly. In addition, people allergic to peppers must avoid hot sauces.
Traditional Red Hot Sauce
You can make your own traditional red hot sauce by following this recipe:
- Chilli Peppers: 10 nos.
- Tomato Puree: 1 cup
- Garlic: 4-5 nos.
- Onions: 2 medium-sized
- Water: As per your requirement
- Olive oil: 1 tbsp
Method of Preparation
- Blend the chilli peppers, tomato puree, garlic, and onions to a fine paste.
- Add the mixture to a pan with olive oil and heat. Stir occasionally.
- Add some boiling water as per your requirement to dilute it.
- Add only boiling water to preserve the flavour.
- Your conventional homemade hot sauce is ready.
Storage and Usage
As the only preservative added is salt, this hot sauce is very healthy. Indeed healthier than store-bought ones. You can have it with Hakka noodles, burritos, sandwiches, fried chicken, etc. It has to be immediately refrigerated once it gets to room temperature. It is better to consume it within seven days of preparation.
Mustard Hot Sauce
You can make a DIY Mustard Sauce at your home by following this recipe:
- Dijon Mustard: ¼ cup
- Garlic (minced or mashed): 2 cloves
- Lemon Juice: 1 tbsp
- White Vinegar: 1 tbsp
- Cayenne Pepper (chopped): 1 tbsp
- Salt: 1 tsp
- Honey (optional): 1 tsp
Method of Preparation
- In a small mixing bowl, combine Dijon mustard, rice wine vinegar, salt, minced garlic clove, fresh lemon juice, honey, and cayenne pepper.
- Whisk until the mixture is smooth.
- Your DIY Mustard Sauce is ready.
Storage and Usage
You have to store it in the refrigerator after preparing it. You will have to finish it within the next two weeks. After that, you can have it with tortillas, egg rolls, salads, quesadillas, etc.
In the end, consuming hot sauce regularly, in moderation, may benefit heart health and weight reduction. Of course, you should minimise your consumption if you have a sensitive stomach. Ultimately, hot sauce is quite a healthy condiment.
While it won’t cure cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, CVD, or type-2 diabetes on its own, scientific studies suggest it may have certain health advantages in the long run. However, there is evidence of its positives based on several parameters. Certain underlying health conditions can get aggravated by having too much of it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What is a popular hot sauce?
A. Many hot sauces are popular. Some of them are Tabasco Pepper Sauce, Sriracha Hot Sauce, Bhut Jolokia Hot Sauce, Chipotle, Buffalo-style, Schezwan Sauce, Cholula Hot Sauce, Habanero, Peri-Peri Hot Sauce, Harissa, etc.
Q. Why is hot sauce good for you?
A. Hot sauce is good only if consumed in controlled amounts. It reduces the risks of cardiovascular diseases, helps in longevity, boosts metabolism, helps lose weight, adds an incredible flavour, helps combat cancer, boosts immunity, and reduces nasal congestion.
Q. What’s good with hot sauce?
A. Hot sauces’ main components are red chilli peppers which contain capsaicin, an active component. It is safe to say that capsaicin is the main ingredient responsible for all the health benefits that hot sauce provides. Also, some specific additions like sriracha, turmeric, cumin, olive oil, cilantro, onions, etc., have many health benefits.
Q. Is Da Bomb the hottest sauce?
A. Da Bomb can be called one of the hottest hot sauces available. Its Scoville Heat Units is around 135,600 SHU, but hot sauces have up to 9 million SHU like Mad Dog 357 Plutonium.
Q. What is Texas’s favourite hot sauce?
A. Sriracha is the most popular spicy hot sauce in Texas and 31 other states, encompassing the whole Western area of the USA. Texas Pete Sauce is also a very popular sauce in the state.
Q. Is hot sauce good for your immune system?
A. Yes, hot sauce is indeed good for the immune system. Capsaicin strengthens the immune cells, which can easily fight minor pathogenic bacteria. It helps in preventing diseases. It also has antioxidants and antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that uplift the immune system significantly.
Q. What happens when you eat too much hot sauce?
A. When you consume a lot of hot sauce, its heat can deplete the necessary mucus lining in your stomach and intestines. As a result, it can lead to acidity and inflammation, which in turn causes uneasiness, upset stomach, nausea, diarrhoea, and vomiting. Sometimes, it can severely affect the digestive system, and you might not efficiently digest your food.
Q. Will hot sauce help you lose weight?
A. Yes, hot sauce is beneficial in triggering a sense of satiety and making you eat less. In turn, it can lead to weight loss. The components found in hot sauce like capsaicin, turmeric, cumin, etc., can provide a calorie-burning effect on your gut. Capsaicin also helps in regulating the cholesterol level in your body. All of these points are responsible for quite a considerable amount of weight loss.
Q. Which is the tastiest sauce in the world?
A. It depends from person to person and on occasion. Some like hot sauces till they tear up, and some like it as a slight spicy kick to their food. Pesto Genovese, an Italian hot sauce made of Genovese basil, Parmigiano Reggiano, pecorino Sardo, and Tabasco are popular hot sauce.
Q. Is Tabasco sauce the same as Louisiana hot sauce?
A. Louisiana Hot Sauce is significantly milder than Tabasco, with a brief burst of heat before dispersing. However, owing to a lot of salt, it has a powerful initial taste rush. Louisiana hot sauce is made of either Cayenne or Tabasco pepper, whereas Tabasco sauce is made only from the latter. Both have a very similar taste, but the methods and time of preparation may differ as cayenne pepper takes a different amount of time to ferment.