What makes hot sauce so spicy and are there any health benefits beyond it just tasting awesome?..... Let's talk about it!
Chillis get their heat from a compound called capsaicin, which is found in the placental tissue of the pepper. When you bite into a chilli pepper, the capsaicin comes into contact with your taste buds and sensory neurons. This interaction stimulates the nerves that are responsible for detecting heat, leading to the sensation of spiciness or heat.
Capsaicin doesn't actually cause any physical damage to your taste buds or mouth, but it triggers a reaction in your body to cool down, leading to sweating and sometimes a runny nose.
The spiciness or heat level of a chilli pepper is measured on the Scoville scale, which quantifies the amount of capsaicin present in the pepper. The higher the Scoville rating, the hotter the chilli is perceived to be.
Capsaicin, the active compound responsible for the spiciness in chilli peppers, has been studied extensively for its potential health benefits. Here are some of the notable health benefits associated with capsaicin:
Pain Relief: Capsaicin is commonly used in topical creams and patches for pain relief. It works by temporarily desensitizing pain receptors in the skin, which can provide relief from conditions like arthritis, muscle soreness, and nerve pain.
Weight Management: Some studies suggest that capsaicin may help with weight management by boosting metabolism and reducing appetite. It may increase thermogenesis, the process of heat production in the body, which can lead to increased calorie burning.
Heart Health: Capsaicin may help improve heart health by promoting healthy blood circulation, reducing blood pressure, and lowering cholesterol levels.
Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Capsaicin has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation in the body and may be beneficial for conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and certain types of arthritis.
Digestive Health: Capsaicin may promote digestive health by increasing the production of stomach mucous and improving gut motility. It may also have protective effects against certain stomach ulcers.
Antioxidant Properties: Some research suggests that capsaicin exhibits antioxidant activity, which can help neutralize harmful free radicals and reduce oxidative stress in the body.
It's important to note that while capsaicin has several potential health benefits, individual responses may vary, and excessive consumption of extremely spicy foods may cause discomfort or irritation for some individuals. As with any dietary supplement or ingredient, it's essential to use capsaicin in moderation and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any underlying health conditions or concerns.