Prevention and Wellness

Take it easy with the hot sauce. For better or worse?

We can feel from a slight tingling sensation to a coughing fit, those that won’t let you catch your breath and bring tears to your eyes. Nobody is indifferent when it comes to hot sauce, regardless of its intensity. Although it’s not considered a flavor, but a painful feeling, many people can’t appreciate a meal without this spicy feeling on their taste buds. Where does this “taste” for spicy things come from? But, more importantly, is it good or bad for your health? Let’s take it easy, one thing at a time.

“Put hot sauce on it”: yea or nay?
No self-respecting “criollo” hot sauce can leave out the “gentlemen pepper”, which is considered ten times hotter than jalapeños. At least that’s what the experts of the Puerto Rican table state. Pasteles, asopao soups, fried alcapurrias, morcilla blood sausage … everything can “get a kick” with hot sauce. It is common knowledge that the Taino Indians used chili peppers to enhance the flavor of their food, like many other groups in the rest of America. Even life seems more fun with a little spice! So, should we put hot sauce on it?

Reasons for a few drops of hot sauce.
Beyond the feeling it provokes, hot sauce has proven benefits:

  • It helps digestion.
  • It is rich in nutrients, calcium, vitamin C and A.
  • It produces a sensation of well being, because it releases serotonin and endorphins.
  • It accelerates metabolism by increasing body temperature.
  • It helps in preventing diabetes by reducing insulin demand.
  • It accentuates flavors in low salt diets, recommended for patients with hypertension.

Everything seems better with hot sauce. Some development studies suggest that hot sauce could prevent stomach cancer. While others suggest that if more than nine jalapeños are consumed per day, the effect could be the exact opposite. Clearly, the key is moderation. But, sometimes, you have to cut off completely.

Not a drop of hot sauce. When to say no.
Spicy food is not the cause of gastritis, but it worsens the symptoms. Recent research confirms this. That’s why, if you already have gastrointestinal problems, it’s time to steer clear of hot sauce.

From now on, no more hot sauce or at the table when:

  • You suffer from gastritis.
  • You have stomach ulcers.
  • You suffer from hemorrhoids.
  • You have canker sores or mouth sores.
  • You have an excess of heartburn.
  • You suffer from the disease known as gastroesophageal reflux.

Did they get you the deviled shrimp? Stop and excuse yourself. The symptoms that will follow can be extremely painful if you have a condition as described above. A drop of hot sauce can ruin your day.

“Hot sauce kills everything.” Beware of myths.
If you thought that hot sauce “kills bacteria,” we can tell you that this is a baseless myth. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that the active ingredients in hot sauce have no effect on health regarding dangerous bacteria. Remember to eat well-cooked food.