Hot Sauce Health Benefits

Hot Sauce Health Benefits

By Riley Holt

Hot sauce is known for giving food a spicy kick. But beyond its role as a fiery condiment, hot sauce hides a surprising array of health benefits that could positively impact your physical well-being. From boosting metabolism to supporting heart health and even acting as a natural mood enhancer, hot sauce might be more than just a spicy addition to your meals. 

Different types of hot sauce and hot sauce brands use a range of peppers from cayenne peppers to jalapeños, habaneros, etc. Before diving into this article, it’s important to know the different genuses of pepper types. 

Capsicum Genus:

  • Chilies belong to the capsicum genus. 
  • Most common types of chilies include bell pepper, jalapeno, serrano, habanero and ghost pepper.
  • The key chemical responsible for the spiciness in chilies is capsaicin, which is responsible for our experience of spiciness. 

Piper Genus: 

  • Peppers belong to the piper genus.
  • Most common types of peppers in the piper genus include black pepper, white pepper and cubeb pepper.
  • These peppers come from the berries of their plant and contain piperine, the chemical associated with a biting sensation.  

Both piperine and capsaicin have been known for having multiple health benefits. However, in the U.S, hot sauce typically refers to any sauce, salsa, or seasoning made primarily from chili peppers. From my research, I found a few benefits of eating hot sauce and some of them are shocking. 

Pepper Varieties

Is Hot Sauce Healthy? 

In vinegar-based hot sauces from Shelby Spice and other southern style hot sauce brands, there are three main ingredients: Peppers, vinegar, and salt. Peppers, whether sweet or spicy, offer a range of health benefits. From being rich in vitamins and antioxidants to aiding metabolism and immune function, they are a great addition to your diet.

When you spread hot sauce on your plate, you’re adding a flavorful vegetable. 

Vinegar has also been found to hold significant health benefits and has been used for medicinal purposes for ages. Here are some ways in which hot sauce can contribute to your overall well-being.  

Metabolism and Weight 

Capsaicin, found in hot foods like peppers, is responsible for their spiciness. Higher capsaicin levels not only make the food spicier but can also contribute to weight loss and an increased metabolism.

How does it work? Studies have shown that capsaicin can increase metabolic rate by promoting thermogenesis. This is the process by which your body generates heat and energy from digesting food just shortly after eating. Capsaicin not only boosts your metabolism, but it can also act as an appetite suppressant. Research suggests that consuming spicy foods can help reduce overall calorie intake by helping people feel more full and curbing cravings.  


Another great benefit of hot sauce is its potential ability to not only lessen diabetes symptoms but decrease the risk of developing 2 diabetes. Capsaicin is the element responsible for this benefit. It has been linked to potential benefits in glucose and insulin regulation. 

Research shows that capsaicin may enhance insulin sensitivity, helping the body utilize insulin more effectively to regulate blood sugar levels. Improved insulin sensitivity is a key factor in preventing and managing type 2 diabetes, since this type of diabetes is a condition characterized by insulin resistance. 

Heart Health 

Hot sauce is considered a great heart-healthy option. If you have ever eaten hot sauce, you know that it makes your heart feel like it is pounding a little faster than before. Capsaicin provides anti-inflammatory properties and has been linked to improvements in cardiovascular health. When capsaicin is consumed, it increases levels of nitric oxide in our cells, which is a vital chemical for a healthy cardiovascular system. It helps to lower blood pressure and reduce levels of LDL cholesterol, often referred to as the "bad" cholesterol. These effects could contribute to a decreased risk of heart disease. A study published on the National Library of Health website found that the regular consumption of chile peppers is associated with a 13% lower likelihood in the instantaneous hazard of death.  

Immune Support 

Capsaicin is known for its anti-inflammatory effects, helping to modulate the immune response and promote a balanced immune system. Research suggests that the vitamins and antioxidants present in chili peppers, the primary ingredient in hot sauce, can contribute to overall immune health. These components play a crucial role in fortifying the body's defenses against infections and illnesses. 

On top of that, the spicy experience of consuming hot sauce may stimulate the release of endorphins, the "feel-good" hormones, which can positively impact mood and overall well-being. A good mindset and reduced stress levels are associated with better immune function. 


Sauce nutritional panel


What to Avoid

While hot sauce can be part of a balanced and healthy diet, it’s important to recognize that not all varieties share the same nutritional qualities. Certain types of hot sauce come with high levels of sodium, additives, and other potentially unhealthy components.

Before you make a hot sauce decision, look over the ingredients list and avoid products that include artificial additives, artificial preservatives, or food dyes. If a hot sauce contains ingredients that sound like they were made in a lab, the sauce is likely of a lower quality.For example xanthan gum, potassium chloride, red dye, sodium benzoate, concentrated oils etc. are additives many premium small batch hot sauce businesses steer away from. While these ingredients are considered to be safe in small doses, artificial additives and preservatives have been linked to a variety of health problems, as far as neurological damage and cancer. Instead, opt for hot sauces that have a straightforward ingredient list such as peppers, vinegar, salt and spices. 

Now You Know 

Not that you know some of the health benefits of hot sauce, make a choice that aligns with your preferences. Break away from the stigma that "healthy" equates to bland, and rest assured that there are both enjoyable and healthy options available. 

It is important to note that you should talk to a doctor if you are dealing with serious issues. However, it is safe to point out that hot sauce and its ingredients serve some great health benefits. Enjoy its flavors and embrace the range of benefits. 


Works Cited 

“ACS Publications: Chemistry Journals, Books, and References Published ...” Capsaicin Reduces Blood Glucose by Increasing Insulin Levels and Glycogen Content Better than Capsiate in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats, ACS Publications, 23 Feb. 2017, Accessed 31 Jan. 2024.  Capsaicin Reduces Blood Glucose by Increasing Insulin Levels and Glycogen Content Better than Capsiate in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats | Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (

Gualillo, Oreste. “The Association of Hot Red Chili Pepper Consumption and Mortality: A Large Population-Based Cohort Study.” National Library of Medicine, PubMed Central, 9 Jan. 2017, Accessed 31 Jan. 2024.  

“Vinegar.” The Nutrition Source, Harvard T.H Chan, 4 Apr. 2022,,cause%20tumor%20cells%20to%20die. Accessed 01 Feb. 2024. Vinegar | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Piperine and Its Role in Chronic Diseases - PubMed (

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