Salt or Pepper?


DID YOU KNOW? There are an estimated 50,000 varieties of pepper.

Instead of reaching for the saltshaker during your next meal, consider grabbing some hot sauce instead. A diet high in salt can raise your blood pressure—the force of the blood flowing through your blood vessels—and potentially increase your risk for heart disease. A new study has found that capsaicin, a chemical found in the chili peppers used to make hot sauce, does the opposite. It can help lower your blood pressure.

That’s not the only reason to choose spice over salt: “Eating spicy food can also increase salty taste sensitivity,” says Zhiming Zhu, a cardiologist at the Third Military Medical University in Chongqing, China, who led the study. That means eating spicy foods may encourage you to use less salt.