Hot sauces, such as sriracha and Tabasco, are incredibly popular these days, especially if you enjoy spicy food. They can be used with almost any type of food, from chicken wings to pasta and sauces. However, due to its taste and spiciness, many people wonder whether these sauces can be bad for your stomach.
For instance, if you suffer from acid reflux or GERD, consuming too much sriracha might exacerbate your symptoms. So, is sriracha acidic?
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Is sriracha acidic?
Sriracha sauce, just like other hot sauces, has to have a low pH level in order to stay on shelves for a long time. As a result, it's relatively acidic, making them potentially dangerous for people with serious stomach issues or acid reflux. Nevertheless, just because a food is spicy doesn't necessarily mean that it's acidic since the spiciness in hot sauce is due to the capsaicin content.
Hence, some people might still be able to tolerate small amounts of hot sauce in their diets, even if they're especially sensitive.
What is the pH level of sriracha?
Even though no official information on the pH level of sriracha is available, all hot sauces have a pH lower than 4.6, making them rather acidic. This is necessary to ensure that no bacteria will develop in the sauce while it's being stored.
The most common concern is botulism which can cause paralysis and death even if you consume small amounts of the food. In addition, many hot sauces contain tomatoes, which increases that risk. Hence, the pH level has to stay low, which is achieved by adding vinegar and other substances.
Is sriracha healthy?
While sriracha sauce isn't commonly regarded as healthy food, it can provide multiple health benefits, mostly due to capsaicin from peppers. This compound is responsible for the spiciness of the peppers, and according to many studies, can improve your health and prevent the development of certain diseases.
For instance, capsaicin has been proven to help prevent cardiovascular diseases and even lower the risk of heart attack and high blood pressure. However, this health benefit only appears if capsaicin is consumed in moderation.
Furthermore, capsaicin can help reduce pain and inflammation. It does so by saturating the pain sensors without causing any addictive side effects, which are often very common with opioids and other traditional painkillers.
As a result, many capsaicin extracts can help you fight pain without suffering any unnecessary side symptoms. Even though the research is still being done on this health benefit, it can be a good idea to include some hot sauce or hot peppers into your diet.
On top of that, hot peppers and sauces can help with weight loss. Eating spicy food increases your metabolism and speeds up digestion without making you feel like you have to eat again. That way, you feel fuller longer, and you don't overeat.
In addition, hot peppers in sriracha can help you maintain a balanced weight by containing many necessary antioxidants that help flush out chemicals and free radicals out of your body. Hence, small amounts of hot sauce can be good even on a low-acid diet.
Even though these health benefits sound great, it's still important to remember that consuming spicy food that's also acidic can worsen the symptoms of GERD and acid reflux. Such foods can cause heartburn and other symptoms even in people who normally tolerate those foods since they increase stomach acid production.
That means that your stomach acid is more likely to reflux up your esophagus, causing other problems. Therefore, it's recommended to consume hot sauces such as sriracha in moderation.
Is sriracha bad for acid reflux?
Sriracha contains vinegar which lowers its pH, making it unsuitable for people struggling with severe acid reflux and GERD. While some may tolerate it in very small amounts, it's best to start small and not overdo it.
On the other hand, people who experience occasional heartburn should be perfectly fine with including some sriracha in their diet for the most part. What's more, the capsaicin in sriracha comes with many health benefits, so if you can tolerate it, it might be a good idea to have some every once in a while.
Additionally, sriracha contains sugar and garlic, which can irritate your stomach and esophagus. Even though they are relatively average foods regarding acidity, sugar slows down digestion, and garlic contains compounds that may inflame your esophagus if consumed in too high quantities. As a result, sriracha sauce should only be used sparingly to avoid these issues.
Sriracha sauce is also loaded with salt. Consuming a diet high in sodium can raise your blood pressure and destroy the electrolyte balance in your body.
For most people, this is only temporary, but those especially susceptible to high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems should be careful about their salt intake in order not to exceed it. Furthermore, sodium can also promote water retention, which can cause health issues and overall discomfort.
So, sriracha sauce should be an occasional treat and in small amounts.
Are all hot sauces bad for acid reflux?
All hot sauces contain vinegar and other additives that are meant to help them stay on shelves for long periods of time. On top of that, they're loaded with sodium which causes water retention and slower digestion.
As a result, those experiencing severe symptoms of GERD and acid reflux as well as IBS might not tolerate hot peppers and hot sauces of any kind. On the other hand, most people should be able to have some hot sauce, but it's best to pick the least spicy ones since it might further aggravate your symptoms.
As a result, good choices are tabasco or sriracha since they are not as spicy as others.
Sriracha is a hot sauce that comes with many health benefits. However, it's still acidic, so limiting its consumption is important if you follow a diet low in acid. In addition, hot sauces, especially ones like sriracha, contain vinegar, which adds to their acidity.
While some people might be able to tolerate the acid content more, it's best to control how much you consume and always listen to your body and how it reacts.