Hot sauce has seen a huge rise in popularity over the past 15 years. According to Euromonitor data, the hot sauce market in the US has grown by 150 percent since 2000, more than ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise combined.

And average New Yorkers are carrying it with them wherever they go — in their bags and even on key chains — to add a healthy kick to meals.

“I’ve always loved hot sauce, but over the past few years I’ve started using it in lieu of salad dressing, since it’s a lot lower in calories but adds a ton of flavor,” says Cassie Kreitner, 27, a Midtown-based online editor who goes to the gym four nights a week. “I keep a bunch at my desk and sometimes in my purse.”

Hot sauce has seen a huge rise in popularity over the past 15 years. According to Euromonitor data, the hot sauce market in the US has grown by 150 percent since 2000, more than ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise combined.

And average New Yorkers are carrying it with them wherever they go — in their bags and even on key chains — to add a healthy kick to meals.

“I’ve always loved hot sauce, but over the past few years I’ve started using it in lieu of salad dressing, since it’s a lot lower in calories but adds a ton of flavor,” says Cassie Kreitner, 27, a Midtown-based online editor who goes to the gym four nights a week. “I keep a bunch at my desk and sometimes in my purse.”

Noah Chaimberg, founder of Heatonist, a small-batch hot-sauce store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, says there’s a huge demand for smaller bottles because customers value portability. “They don’t want to compromise on flavor just because the restaurant hasn’t caught up to where they are.”

Chaimberg adds that his Brooklyn store, which opened last April, has a loyal customer base, roughly half of whom are women. “We’ve started to see, now that we’ve been open a good period of time, the same faces coming back again and again.”

And experts say the condiment’s benefits go beyond spicing up bland diet foods.

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The concentrated blend of chili peppers and vinegar is incredibly healthy, says Rebecca Blake, Mount Sinai Beth Israel’s senior director of clinical nutrition. “The flavonoids and carotenoids you find in hot peppers have antioxidant properties,” says Blake, “which may be protective against certain cancers and heart disease.”

It could even aid in weight loss. “[Hot sauce] is a little bit painful,” she says. “You are less likely to overeat food that’s very hot.”

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