The Health Benefits of Hot Sauce

New Mexico State University is home to the Chile Pepper Institute (which holds the rare and laudable distinction of being the only interesting institute in the world.)

Carol Turner is a nutrition specialist at New Mexico State. When asked to list the health benefits of hot peppers, she spoke for six minutes without stopping, and it sounded like she was giving the short version.

“Chile peppers offer a lot of benefits that we don’t often think about,” Turner said.

Most of us think of spicy flavors when we think about hot sauce. Turner and her colleagues at the Chile Pepper Institute — a group of people who probably have the greatest lunch breaks ever — see hot peppers as more than that.

Call it “The Hot Pepper Paradox.” Everything about hot peppers and hot sauce screams, “Don’t put this stuff in your mouth, you maniac!” But hot peppers, hot sauce and salsa are among the healthiest foods on the planet.