Updated: Mar 23
Grown and enjoyed all over the world, chili peppers are loved for their spicy goodness and flexibility in recipes via powders, oils, mashes, whole peppers and, the basis of this discussion, Hot Sauce. While most people eat peppers that are moderate in heat there are plenty of “pepper heads” out there that get a literal and figurative high by eating the “super hots”. The relative heat of a pepper is measured using the Scoville scale. For comparison, the ever popular jalapeño is rated at a lowly 2500 to 8000 units while the worlds hottest pepper currently, the Carolina Reaper, is in the 1.5 to 2 million range, ouch!
According to wikipedia the Scoville scale is a measurement of the pungency of chili peppers, as recorded in Scoville heat units, based on the concentration of capsaicinoids, among which capsaicin is the predominant component. The scale is named after its creator, American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville, whose 1912 method is known as the Scoville organoleptic test.”
Contrary to popular belief, the heat is not concentrated in the seeds but rather in the white membrane in which the seeds reside. Capsaicin is an oil which coats the seeds but removing them will not remove much of the heat from the pepper... good to know.
Chili peppers and therefore hot sauce, also have a number of health benefits so let's get into them.
1. Increased longevity
According to ScienceDaily.com, individuals who consume chili peppers may live longer and may have a significantly reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or cancer, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions in 2020.
Previous studies have found eating chili peppers has an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer and blood-glucose regulating effect due to capsaicin which gives chili peppers that wonderful heat we all love. Researchers studied the data of over 500,000 individuals to determine that eating hot peppers produced
a 26% relative reduction in cardiovascular mortality
a 23% relative reduction in cancer mortality
a 25% relative reduction in all-cause mortality.
Keep in mind that this is all observational evidence without very specific info on the types of peppers or how often they were eaten.
2. It can help you control your weight.
Meta-anlysis findings suggest that daily consumption of capsaicinoids may contribute to weight management through reductions in energy intake. Subsequently, there may be potential for capsaicinoids to be used as long-term, natural weight-loss aids. Further long-term randomised trials are now needed to investigate these effects. Read more here at pubmed.gov
3. Pain relief
There are many pain relief creams on the market today that contain capsaicin not only in the product but right there in the name. In essence it deadens the pain receptors in the skin when used topically. Learn more here at pubmed.gov
4. Vitamins and Minerals
There are lots of vitamins and minerals in chili peppers. However, most people don’t eat them in large quantities so the overall intake of vitamins may be minimal. What you can get from these spicy ingredients include:
Vitamin C. There is a high amount of vitamin C in chili peppers. Vitamin C is an antioxidant. It helps with immune function and healing of wounds.
Vitamin B6. Chili peppers are rich in vitamin B6. It is important in energy metabolism.
Vitamin K1. Vitamin K is known scientifically as phylloquinone. It helps in the buildup of healthy kidneys and bones. It is also important for blood clotting.
Potassium. Chili pepper is rich in potassium, an electrolyte that protects the heart when eaten in the right amounts.
Copper. The Western diet is usually deficient in copper. Copper helps to build strong and healthy neurons and bones.
Vitamin A. Chili peppers do not contain vitamin A per se. Rather they have beta carotene. The human body then converts this into vitamin A.
Learn more here... https://mbbch.com/chili-peppers-health-effects-nutrition-facts/
5. It tastes great!
Well, to be sure, they don’t all taste great but luckily there is a plethora from which to choose. Most of the popular store brands that have been around for years use various red peppers, maybe they are fermented and they contain a lot of vinegar and salt. they are the old stalwarts that have been around, in some case, for over 100 years and sell tens maybe hundreds of millions of bottles a year.
I’m not a fan of those. Lucky for me and many other people there is an ever growing number of craft hot sauces made by small timers like myself at ThePepperEndeavor.com , some of whom are not so small anymore. These talented men and women make a tremendous variety of sauces using many different peppers and a wide variety of fruits and veggies that produce copius different flavor profiles and textures.
Not only are these individuals making great tasting, healthy food products for you and I to enjoy, they are entrepreneurs who are contributing to their local economies. Many, like myself, also use local, all natural and/or organic products and even source our bottles, labels and as much food product as possible from the good old US of A.
The bottom line is that hot sauce is a tasty and healthy condiment that can go with literally
any food, yes, some even put fruity sauces on ice cream, and when purchased responsibly
can provide great benefit to small business people and local economies. Most of these craft sauces are available on line but you might have trouble finding many of them in grocery stores. Go search out some today.