Surprising Benefits of Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper is known as the king of medicinal plants and herbs. Cayenne pepper benefits health in several ways. People have been using cayenne pepper plants for thousands of years to treat many health problems. Apart from medicinal properties, cayenne pepper makes a great ingredient for cooking as it contains various beneficial nutrients.
Wondering is cayenne pepper good for you? If you want to know some impressive cayenne pepper health benefits, then continue reading this article.
What Is Cayenne Pepper?
Cayenne pepper is a type of chili pepper that belongs to the nightshade family of flowering plants and is closely related to Jalapenos and bell peppers. These were originally found in South American and Central America and were bough to Europe by Christopher Columbus in the 15th century.
Cayenne pepper is a very popular spice used in various cooking styles and used as a medicinal plant for thousands of years. These have a strong nutrition profile, including types of antioxidants that benefit your health.
The cayenne pepper plant is rich in Capsaicin, an active ingredient that grants medicinal properties. Capsaicin also gives a hot taste to the pepper. The more capsaicin level, the hotter it will be the pepper.
Cayenne Pepper Benefits:
Below we have mentioned science-backed cayenne pepper health benefits:
1. May Boost Your Metabolism
The capsaicin content found in the cayenne pepper plant has amazing metabolism-boosting properties. It increases the amount of heat produced in the body and helps in burning more calories every day. (source) this happens because our body undergoes a process called diet-induced thermogenesis, which boosts our metabolism. However, the metabolism-boosting effects of capsaicin are relatively small.
As per a study, people who consume capsaicin rich breakfast and medium-chained triglyceride oil help burn 51% more calories during the meal than people who have normal breakfast.
In another study, people who regularly eat 1 gram red cayenne pepper burned 10 more calories in comparison to people who do not eat cayenne pepper.
However, regular Cayenne pepper consumption will minimize their health benefits in the long haul as the bodies adapt to the effects.
2. Can Help Reduce Hunger
Cayenne pepper benefits in reducing your hunger, helps you eat less, and keeps you full for a longer time.
Studies present that capsaicin content in cayenne pepper is responsible for reducing hunger by reducing the production of a hunger hormone called ghrelin. (Source)
Another study shows that people who consume capsaicin ate less food in a day than people who did not take any. People taking capsaicin supplements eat at least 10% less, while drinking capsaicin beverages reduced hunger by 16%.
3. May Lower Blood Pressure
One of the greatest health risks all over the world is high blood pressure. More than 40% of adults worldwide are affected by high blood pressure.
One interesting fact is that Cayenne pepper reduces high blood pressure.
An animal study done on mice with high bp presented that regular consumption of capsaicin helps in reducing blood pressure. It also helps in relaxing blood vessels in pigs, which leads to lower blood pressure.
4. May Aid Digestive Health
Dietary spices and the active components in these spices also benefits the stomach. For instance, Cayenne peppers benefit by boosting the stomach’s defense system to fight infections, increases digestive fluid production and delivers enzymes to the stomach, and also aids digestion.
This is because Cayenne pepper stimulates the nerves in our stomach and signals for protection against any injury. People also believe that spicy food may also cause ulcers. However, a review paper presents that capsaicin components in cayenne pepper may help in minimizing stomach ulcers.
5. May Help Relieve Pain
Capsaicin found in a cayenne pepper plant is a potent pain-relieving compound when used as a cream to apply on the skin. This is because Capsaicin reduces the amount of neuropeptide substance produced in the body that travels to the brain and signals pain.
When less neuropeptide is produced, the pain signals are unable to reach the brain and decrease the pain feeling.
Capsaicin based skin cream is recommended often in the following conditions:
- Lower back pain
- Joint and muscle pain
- Pain after surgery
- Pain from nerve conditions like shingles
NOTE- Capsaicin cream should not be applied on broken skin or open wounds.
6. May Improve Psoriasis
Autoimmune disease is a condition in which the body attacks itself. Psoriasis is one such autoimmune disease that leaves patches of itchy, red, and scaly skin.
Till today there is no treatment for psoriasis. However, capsaicin based creams help in relieving itching and skin appearance after autoimmune diseases. In one study, Capsaicin cream used on psoriasis helps reduce redness, scaling, and patchiness compared to a placebo cream.
Capsaicin reduces the amount of substance P released by your body, and this substance plays a role in psoriasis.
7. May Reduce Cancer Risk
Cancer is a disease in which a certain part of the body experiences uncontrollable cell growth. The capsaicin found in cayenne pepper is a promising compound to minimize the risk of cancer. This is because the capsaicin compound in cayenne peppers attacks the cancer cell growth process’s different pathways. Studies also present that Capsaicin also slows down the growth of cancer cells and may also cause the death of cancer cells in pancreatic, prostate, and skin cancer.
The results of the capsaicin’s effects are promising for minimizing cancer risk; however, it should be noted that the findings are based on animal studies and laboratory. The effects of capsaicin in human cancer cells have not been studied yet.
8. Easy to Add to Your Diet
Cayenne pepper can be easily added to your daily diet. It can be found in various forms like spice, whole food, and supplement. You can find them online, at the supermarket, or at any nearby grocery store.
Just add a pinch of cayenne pepper spice to any of your favorite dishes like homemade fries, eggs, and even marinades. You can also slice the whole cayenne pepper and consume them as salads.
If you never tried cayenne pepper before, make sure to test a small amount to see if you can tolerate the heat because they are super spicy.
9. Clears Congestion
If you are suffering from sinus congestion, cayenne pepper may provide some benefits. The Capsaicin content in the pepper can help in thinning the mucus and also stimulate the sinus. This, in turn, increases the air circulation and offers you relief. Eating foods that contain cayenne pepper will help in clearing the congestion.
Capsaicin may also benefit in rhinitis, a disease like nasal congestion and postnasal drip. The best way of using capsaicin is to buy a nasal spray containing this compound from the nearby pharmacy. You can also take cayenne pepper orally by adding one teaspoon pepper to a hot water cup and consume it three times a day. This dilates the blood vessel and stimulates secretion while draining the sinuses.
Cayenne pepper also benefits by clearing congestion caused by Bronchitis. It works great in treating sore throats, sinus infections, and laryngitis. You can also use it to treat cold and flu-related allergies.
Possible Side Effects
When capsaicin is used topically in the form of a transdermal patch or cream in low dosage, it is considered safe for adults.
Still, there are some common side effects associated with Cayenne pepper plants.
Some possible side effects are:
An 8% Qutenza patch causes swelling, pain, rash, and blisters in people with sensitive skin. Cayenne tablets can cause flushing, sweating, diarrhea, upset stomach, and even runny nose. Avoid using it for a longer time.
If overused, it can also cause damage to the kidney and liver in rare cases.
Risks and Precautions
Cayenne pepper is usually considered safe to consume. Eating too much cayenne pepper in one go may cause stomach ache and make you sick. If you have been taking medication for High BP like ACE inhibitors, it is important to check with your doctors as capsaicin cream may cause coughing.
Also, if you take warfarin or any other blood thinner, consult with your doctor before taking cayenne pepper as it can increase bleeding. Avoid applying capsaicin cream to broken skin and open wounds.
Cayenne pepper has several health benefits that are derived from its active component, Capsaicin. These are also known to lower blood pressure and reduce appetite, along with other benefits.
If you are concerned about whether cayenne pepper can counteract your current medication program, consult with your doctor.
People generally love cayenne pepper spice to add a kick to their regular food.
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