Coffee has never inspired quite so much adventure in our daily routines as it’s done the past year. Whether you’ve taken to gourmand preparation habits or sampled the bevy of compelling additions to your morning bev (like this easy saffron coffee infusion recipe… yum), this update is sure to get your attention: The interest around one trendy coffee condiment has been heating up, and at first it seemed questionable. But now that the nutrition benefits of the hottest new coffee addition are front and center, it seems this has gone from a flaky fluke to a significant health hack.
We’d heard about this trend in recent months: People are adding hot sauce to their coffee. It sounds ultra-foodie, right? Like a fashion flex that would only happen at some hyper-trendy neighborhood café? But we recently saw it brewing out there, and now this spicy coffee move is spreading from silly to actually pretty smart.
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The reason putting hot sauce in coffee could be worth a try is that a chili pepper-based hot sauce naturally contains capsaicin. Capsaicin is the agent that gives a chili pepper its heat—and that bitey property, that irritating sensation (delightfully irritating for some), makes it a somewhat common ingredient in some pain relief creams as some researchers have found that capsaicin defunctionalizes pain receptors. (Some scientists have also argued that capsaicin stimulates hair growth when applied topically to the scalp.)
But the health benefits of capsaicin go far deeper than the skin of the chili pepper or any human: Capsaicin also contains antioxidants. You can refresh your understanding of the power of antioxidants from this expert article, in which Lauren Manaker, M.S., R.D.N., L.D., C.L.E.C, explains that antioxidants “may combat the effects of oxidative stress, and thus the risk of developing” conditions like cancer, Alzheimer’s, cirrhosis, and even cataracts.
And, as that heat might tell you, some researchers have found that a red, hot, chili pepper delivers particularly potent antioxidant powers—according to this 2002 Italian study, hot peppers’ compounds “showed a highly significant antioxidant activity in all systems investigated.”
So, how to add hot sauce to your coffee? A rep for the Texas-based Melinda’s brand suggests: “Just add a drop or two of your favorite hot sauce” to your morning coffee. If you take your coffee strong, you might not even taste the hot sauce… but even if you’re still questioning whether coffee with hot sauce packs health benefits, most of us can agree this will definitely energize your day (or just go really well with the egg recipe everyone’s trying right now).