Did you know that, according to a recent report from the ever authoritative Fox News, salsa is now the most popular condiment in the United States? From classic mild salsa dip to those built on Southwestern salsa recipes, Americans just can’t seem to get enough of the stuff.
While flavor undoubtedly plays the biggest role in salsa ousting ketchup from the top spot, one of the biggest reasons the different types of salsa have become so popular is that they are thought of as health foods. Sure, the number of calories in pico de gallo salsa dips and other fresh varieties is negligible, but is that enough to consider salsa healthy? Read on to learn a little bit about salsa nutrition to find out.
What is It About Salsa Nutrition That Makes This Such a Health Food?
- Potent Peppers Act as a Panacea
- Tomatoes Bring Vitamin C to the Party
- Garlic is Good for Your Ticker
As the San Francisco-based SF Gate details, one of the main players behind salsa’s health food status is capsaicin, sometimes called capsicum. Capsaicin is the phytochemical in chile peppers that makes them spicy. What you might not know is that capsaicin has been shown to do a host of wonderful things for our health, including fighting off certain kinds of cancer, relieving indigestion, and treating mild to severe pain. You’ll obviously need to eat the spicier varieties of salsa to get the greatest benefit from capsaicin.
Vitamin C plays a crucial role in keeping our immune systems strong, and fresh salsa offers this important vitamin in large amounts. The key is the humble tomato. Not only are tomatoes extremely delicious, the average berry packs as much as 25% of your daily suggested intake of vitamin C.
Savory, spicy, and slightly sweet, garlic is one of those ingredients that is now used around the world, from Mexico to Japan. Sure, some of that is for those flavors I mentioned, but its ubiquity can also be tied to its health benefits. Garlic improves circulation, reduces blood pressure, and can keep your heart healthy.
Do the Health Benefits Mean You Can Eat as Much as You Want?
It’s easy to read through these salsa nutrition facts and assume you can eat as much salsa as you want. After all, it has a ton of healthy ingredients in it. That said, you have to be careful not to fall into this line of thinking. Store bought salsas are packed to the gills with salt, meaning they’re likely to send your blood pressure through the roof.
The best rule here is to enjoy salsa just as you would any other food: in moderation. The health benefits are definitely there, but unless you’re making your own salsa at home and can control the sodium content, you’re better off just munching on this delicious concoction of the gods only occasionally.