Are There Health Benefits to Eating Sriracha?

Sriracha is a popular hot sauce all around the world. It’s known for its tangy-sweet taste with a pinch of garlic and kick of spice. While recipes and sauce consistencies may vary, the core ingredients of sriracha are always:

  • Chili peppers
  • Vinegar
  • Garlic
  • Sugar
  • Salt

In America, the most recognized sriracha brand is undoubtedly Huy Fong Sriracha, sometimes called ‘Rooster Sauce’ for the rooster design on its bottles. David Tran founded this well-known brand after he immigrated to Los Angeles. 

Huy Fong Foods has been the center of a famous lawsuit described as the “Sriracha apocalypse” in recent years. A new Huy Fong factory was shut down in Irwindale, California after residents complained that the odors and fumes from grinding jalapeno peppers to make the popular hot sauce was creating a public nuisance.

The chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt made to make sriracha carry some weighty health claims alone and combined.

Nutrition Information

That same tablespoon also contains approximately:

  • Calories: 15
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 3 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams

Sriracha is also a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including:

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that sriracha is fairly high in sodium. Salt is one of just five main ingredients after all. A single tablespoon of Huy Fong sriracha will provide you with 9% of your daily value of sodium.

Potential Health Benefits of Sriracha

While sriracha sauce itself is not commonly hawked as a health food, research into its ingredients has demonstrated some potential health benefits. Much of it comes down to the capsaicin in the chili peppers.

Add sriracha to your food offers the following health benefits:

Heart Health
The capsaicin in chili peppers in sriracha sauce is what creates the burning sensation in your mouth. Studies indicate that capsaicin may treat pain associated with angina. Additionally, it helped increase patients with angina’s ability to exercise. Further research is needed to confirm these claims. 

The garlic in sriracha may also be beneficial to heart health. One study on garlic suggests that consuming the ingredient may lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This effect is thought to help people who are already at risk of cardiovascular disease.

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Weight Loss

Research has also found that eating chili peppers can be associated with weight loss. The capsaicin in chili peppers can increase overall energy expenditure and help the body metabolize fat more quickly.

Anticancer Agent

Capsaicin has been researched extensively as a potential anticancer agent. While the research is far from conclusive, there is some evidence that capsaicin may be able to target cancer-associated signaling pathways and genes. There are indications that capsaicin may be beneficial for combating cancer at multiple stages in its development, including metastasis.

Potential Risks of Sriracha

The health risks of sriracha boil down to the same health risks of many other savory condiments: too much salt.

Raised Blood Pressure

There is a lot of salt in sriracha, and too much salt can raise blood pressure. Fortunately, for many people, this is only temporary. However, people who are already grappling with high blood pressure may want to steer clear of sriracha.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 03, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

American Heart Association: “Shaking the Salt Habit to Lower High Blood Pressure.”

Anticancer Research: “Anticancer Properties of Capsaicin Against Human Cancer.”

Huy Fong Foods Incorporated: “History.”

Gastronomica: “Sriracha: Lessons from the Legal Troubles of a Popular Hot Sauce.”

International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition: “Chili pepper as a body weight-loss food.”

Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture: “A meta-analysis of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials for the effects of garlic on serum lipid profiles.:

Open Heart: “Capsaicin may have important potential for promoting vascular and metabolic health.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture: “SRIRACHA.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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