Can Hot Sauce Help Your Blood Pressure? It Depends

We love hearing about simple tricks that can help our health. Adding small steps to our day to be healthy is easy! It’s even better when it’s something we love. So, when we hear that using hot sauce can lower blood pressure, it’s great news! But, it’s not as simple as it seems.

A couple of weeks ago, we shared research that showed that adding 1.5 teaspoons of seasoning to your cooking a day could improve blood pressure. So it might not come as a surprise to hear that hot sauce may help you maintain healthy blood pressure. However, before you start adding it to every meal, you should know that not all hot sauces are helpful.

Hot sauces made with peppers containing capsaicin can help relax blood vessels and increase the body’s production of nitric oxide that protects against blood vessel inflammation. That means that these pepper-based hot sauces can be helpful for blood pressure. However, if a hot sauce is high in sodium, the salt can undermine the condiment’s benefits. Hot sauce can be high in sodium, and a portion is just one teaspoon. You need to pick a low-sodium type and read the label before pouring it onto your meals. The amount of salt can vary wildly. While you can find low sodium varieties, a teaspoon usually has 124 milligrams of salt. That’s less than many other condiments and might not seem like much, but if you add it to every meal and use more than a teaspoon, it can add up.

If you like hot sauce and would like to see if you can use it to help your blood pressure, look at the brand you enjoy most frequently. Be sure that the ingredients list is short; peppers, vinegar and spices are all that’s needed for a hot sauce. Ones with less than 60 milligrams of sodium are widely available. Tabasco has just 35 milligrams. And if you are planning on adding it to your diet, it’s better to pick one of these.

If you have any dietary or medical restrictions, you should talk to your doctor before adding hot sauce to your diet as a staple. For instance, hot sauce can exacerbate heartburn for some people. If you already eat a lot of hot sauce, you can feel good knowing that you’re doing something to help yourself — just double check that label. If you aren’t a hot sauce lover, consider adding it to your table to see how it spices up your meal and may help your blood pressure!  

Banner image: Filipp Romanovski via Unsplash

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