Soul Superfood:  Hot Sauce

Lowering sodium intake means finding ways to add depth and flavor without the salt shaker.  One of the best ways to add flavor PLUS health benefits is to throw on some hot pepper sauce or vinegar.  Hot peppers get their heat from capsaicin, which is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and even cancer fighting phytonutrient.  There are several varieties of hot peppers that are native to North America and South America- but several varietals immigrated to the Southern colonies along with our enslaved ancestors.  

All hot sauce is not created equal, of course.  Several commercial varieties feature heavy doses of salt and/or sugar, making them more ketchup-like and not-so-good for you.  Luckily there is so much to choose from so you can sample a bunch until you find your favorite.  You can also make pepper vinegar, which is amazing on fish or to wake up crunchy cabbage or green bean salads.

There are many ways to get your heat on, and certain types of peppers have added benefit for different health conditions.  Of course, if you suffer from a gastric disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, or peptic ulcers, you should probably tread lightly (if at all).  But if you can stand the heat, making hot peppers and hot sauce a part of your diet is a delicious way to add flavor and boost health.