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Does hot sauce count as a health food?

EvanstMarch 8 2011 The variety hot sauce B17 is sure please anyone who likes add kick thier food. | Suzanne

Evanston March 8, 2011 The variety of hot sauce at Bat 17 is sure to please anyone who likes to add a kick to thier food. | Suzanne Tennant~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 15, 2012 6:05AM

Q. I love hot sauce, but I’m not sure if it’s good for me. Is it?

A. One teaspoon of hot sauce has zero calories, 6 percent of your daily dose of vitamin C and 119 milligrams of sodium. This condiment helps spice up dishes.

Hot sauce gets its burn from a compound found in hot peppers known as capsaicin. The spiciness of hot sauce depends on the type of chili pepper and spices used. That’s why the heat (and capsaicin) will vary from brand to brand.

Although some folks believe spicy foods, including hot sauce, is a stomach irritant, researchers believe that capsaicin can help decrease the risk of peptic ulcers.

Though too much also can irritate your stomach, the ideal amount still needs to be further studied.

Studies have shown that it can slightly increase your metabolism several hours after eating.

Too much hot sauce can just be unpleasantly overpowering. It’s also extremely irritating to the eyes and it has sodium.

There is a lot of misconception about the weight-loss effects of capsaicin.

Although it will slightly help increase your metabolism after consuming, it will not help melt the calories magically away.

So don’t be afraid of the heat! Add a dash of hot sauce to soups, sauces, sandwiches, chicken wings, burgers, nachos, quesadillas, tacos or to a bloody Mary.

Courtesy Toby Amidor

Scripps Howard News Service

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