ST. LOUIS - Variety is the spice of life, and when it comes to hot sauce - you get both.
“There are so many different vendors around here, so many different people interested in the farming and the growing,” Myke with Saucy-One, a hot-sauce specialty store in Bevo Mill, said.
People have used peppers to spice foods for centuries. Today, they are experimenting with different mixtures and breeds of peppers to make all sorts of unique flavors.
“A hot sauce doesn't have to burn your mouth, it doesn't have to give you a rush or anything like that, it just could have peppers in it,” Myke explained.
If you sample something that is too hot for your liking, he recommends cooling your mouth with milk, or a sugar, or carb. Resist the urge to reach for your glass of water, though.
“That's going to spread the heat and make it worse,” he said. “You want something that's going to counteract it a little bit.”
When you eat hot sauce or other spicy foods often, it could help you lose weight. It boosts your metabolism and curbs your appetite because the spice is both more satisfying and becomes “too much” to continue eating. It can also boost endorphins, making you happier.
It's not all good news for hot sauce lovers, though. Even though the chemicals only simulate heat, it’s enough to scorch your taste buds.
Hot sauce in particular is often very high in sodium, which is something many people don’t consider when dousing their food. And, as many people might know, it can wind up being tough on the digestive system. But according to most studies, most healthy people would have to eat an excessive and nearly impossible amount to cause damage to internal organs.
“It’s really only what you make out of it and everybody's going to get a different reaction out of each sauce,” said Myke.
Why do some people like spicy foods and others can’t handle it? Like many foods, tolerances are just different. Some brains read the heat as pain, and others see it as delicious. Much of that comes from exposure, which is why people from certain cultures or who consume certain diets seem to have higher tolerances for heat. That means you can build up your tolerance - one drop at a time.
"You can be scared of it but it’s like anything else in life,” said Myke. “You approach it differently and then you may see things that aren't so bad.”
Watch the video above for more on whether spicy foods can induce labor in pregnant women and to see Today in St. Louis’s Abby Llorico sample local sauces. Don’t see the video? Click here to watch.