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Cayenne Pepper Benefits your Overall Health

by Bettina Rasmussen 11/3/23

Many of us use cayenne pepper to add a little kick to our meals, but did you know that it has the power to improve your health? It has been used for both food and medicine for the past 9,000 years!

Cayenne pepper is a powerful spicy pepper that can stimulate your body’s circulation, digestion, reduce acidity, supports our immune system and many other health benefits.

The fruit of the capsicum plant contains a chemical called capsaicin. Using capsaicin for different health ailments is more common than ever.

What Is Cayenne Pepper?

Cayenne is a shrub that originated in Central and South America and now grows in subtropical and tropical climates. Its hollow fruit grows into long pods that turn red, orange or yellow when they ripen.

Cayenne pepper is typically added to food in either its natural or powdered form, and some people use it as a cream or capsule in order to take advantage of its stimulating and detoxifying properties.

Cayenne pepper benefits are numerous. It is used to help digestion, including healing an upset stomach, slow intestinal gas, stop stomach pain, stop diarrhea and as a natural remedy for cramps. It’s also used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels.

When consumed, cayenne pepper has the power to relieve a toothache, seasickness, alcoholism, malaria and fever. It’s also used to help people who have difficulty swallowing. When applied topically, cayenne pepper benefits the skin and sore muscles.

Health Benefits

1. Helps Digestion

One of the major cayenne pepper benefits is the positive effect it has on the digestive system.

Cayenne pepper helps produce saliva, which is important for excellent digestion as well as preventing bad breath. Research suggests that consuming cayenne pepper stimulates our salivary glands, which is needed to begin the digestive process, in addition to creating heat that support the digestive system.

Cayenne pepper also stimulates the flow of enzyme production, which is essential for our digestive system to work properly. It also stimulates gastric juices that aid the body’s ability to metabolize food and toxins.

It has been found to effectively suppress hunger and normalize glucose levels. It also keeps blood pressure levels normalized, and helps the body lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

2. Relieves Migraine Pain

Researchers suggest that cayenne pepper, due to its spice, is able to stimulate a pain response in a different part of the body. Once this happens, the brain puts its attention on that new site and will no longer concentrate on the pain in the head, which causes the migraine headache.

After this initial pain reaction from the cayenne pepper, the nerve fibers have a depleted substance P, or pain chemical, and the sensation of pain is lessened.

With cayenne compounds, you’re basically tricking your body to “feel pain” somewhere else, so that the head is no longer the main focus for pain chemicals.

3. Prevents Blood Clots

Blood clots are blockages in your arteries and blood vessels that limit blood flow through your circulatory system.

Cayenne encourages fibrinolytic activity and helps prevent blood clots. This is also the reason why cayenne pepper is effective in preventing heart attacks.

Studies indicate that the capsaicin in cayenne pepper helps to clear away artery-narrowing lipid deposits, and dilates arteries and blood vessels to clear away clots.

4. Provides Detox Support

Cayenne pepper benefits include its ability to stimulate circulation and eliminate acidity.

According to research published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, cayenne pepper restores the circulatory system by opening the capillaries and regulating blood sugar; it also helps the digestive system that moves bacteria and toxins out of the body.

Research conducted in the Netherlands suggests that cayenne pepper also increases body temperature and boosts your metabolism.

5. Relieves Joint and Nerve Pain

Cayenne power has very powerful pain-relieving properties when applied to the skin. It reduces the amount of substance P, a chemical that carries pain messages to the brain. When there is less substance P, the pain messages no longer reach the brain and you feel relief.

It also alleviates pain from nerve damage in the feet or legs from diabetes, lower back injuries, neuropathy, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as fibromyalgia symptoms like joint or muscle pain.

6. Supports Weight Loss

A study published in PloS One noted that consuming cayenne pepper for breakfast creates less appetite, so people eat less calories during the day. It also burns excess fat because it’s a metabolic booster. Being anti-inflammatory, Cayenne pepper has the power to decrease inflammation and bloating that comes from allergies, food sensitivities and infections.

7. Works as Anti-Irritant

Cayenne pepper benefits include its anti-irritant properties, making it effective in easing ulcers, upset stomachs cough and even potentially stop diarrhea.

The common belief is that cayenne pepper leads to gastric ulcers. However, investigations carried out in recent years have revealed that cayenne or its active ingredient “capsaicin,” is not the cause for the formation of ulcer symptoms, but a benefactor.

Studies have found that cayenne pepper stimulates alkali and mucus secretions and particularly gastric mucosal blood flow, which helps in the prevention and healing of ulcers.

8. Treats Psoriasis

Psoriasis occurs when skin cells replicate too quickly, and it results in swollen patches under the skin covered with whitish scales on top. The scaly patches are areas of inflammation and excessive skin production.

Two trials showed that 0.025 percent capsaicin (cayenne pepper) cream used topically is effective in treating psoriasis.

The first study showed a significant decrease in scaling and redness during a six-week period in 44 patients with moderate and severe psoriasis.

The second was a double-blind study of 197 patients, which found that psoriasis was treated with the capsaicin cream four times daily for six weeks, with a significant decrease in scaling, thickness, redness and itching.

9. Fights Cold and Flu

Cayenne pepper benefits include being full of beta carotene and antioxidants that support your immune system.

It aids in breaking up mucus and helps clearing up sinus congestion, in addition cayenne pepper also raises your body temperature, which makes you sweat and increases the activity of your immune system.

10. Prevents Allergies

Because cayenne is an anti-inflammatory agent, it has the power to prevent allergies and the symptoms related to allergies. A food allergy, for example, is a measurable response to consuming a specific food.

Food allergies, or intolerances, can be caused by a condition known as leaky gut (intestinal permeability), when proteins and food particles pass through the gut and cause systemic body inflammation.

Leaky gut is like having the gates broken from your intestines to your bloodstream so that toxins, microbes and undigested food particles can now get through. When this happens, it causes inflammation throughout your body, leading to a variety of diseases.

11. Possible Anti-Cancer Agent

Studies suggest that capsaicin may have a role as a natural remedy for cancer, including in the management of prostate cancer.

One study conducted at University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine found that this important ingredient in cayenne pepper is able to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and prevent the activation of new dangerous formations.

There is also data from California’s Loma Linda University that suggests that cayenne pepper benefits include being effective in helping prevent lung cancer in smokers.

Cayenne pepper’s high amounts of capsaicin serves as a substance that can stop the formation of tobacco induced tumors in the lung. Similar effects have also been found in liver tumors when they were exposed to cayenne pepper.

12. Anti-Fungal Properties

The final cayenne pepper benefit is its ability to kill fungus and prevent the formation of fungal pathogens. Cayenne pepper was investigated to determine its in vitro antifungal activity, and the results found that it was active against 16 different fungal strains, including Candida.

How to Use

Cayenne peppers are available year-round in supermarkets or health food stores. You can find them in fresh, dried or powdered form.

Because powdered cayenne pepper is sometimes a mix a poorer quality herbs, it’s best to buy cayenne peppers fresh; however, if you are using dried or powered pepper, the health benefits are still awesome.

Just be sure to buy your powder from a trusted company. Go for powders that are authentic and branded products — there are even organic options.

In the store, look for raw, fresh chilies that have a brilliant red color and a healthy stem. Make sure there aren’t any spots, mold or spoiled tips.

The pepper should look wholesome and firm. Once at home, store your peppers inside the refrigerator in a plastic bag; they will stay fresh for about a week.

Dry peppers are also available at the supermarket, especially health food stores. Dry peppers can be stored using airtight containers in a cool and dark place.

Dried cayenne peppers can be milled to powder using a hand mill.

Fresh cayenne peppers can be used to make spicy drinks, sauce, chutney or can even be used for pickling. Make sure you wash them well first — you want to use any dirt, sand or fungicides.

Here’s a breakdown of some simple ways to use cayenne in your daily health regime:

Add it to meals: Taking cayenne pepper that is dried or powdered, you can add to meals for a spicy (and healthy) kick. It can be added to meat, pasta, eggs, nuts, veggies even your morning oatmeal to give it a kick— there are a ton of options. Start with a 1/4 teaspoon or so, and then work your way up. Remember that it adds heat and can be too much for people who are spice-sensitive.

Drink it: If you want a quick fix that will help you to experience these amazing cayenne pepper benefits, an easy way to get it in your body is by taking a cayenne pepper drink by mixing the powder with water and lemon, which is similar to the drink consumed during the cayenne pepper diet, so it will give you the same detoxifying results. Try adding a little to a cup of coffee or tea for a kick.

Take capsules: Cayenne capsules or capsaicin capsules are also available for purchase. When taking cayenne pills, read the label carefully for dosage instructions. It’s best to start with a lower dose to monitor how your body reacts.

Apply it topically: There are also creams that contain capsaicin, the main component of cayenne pepper, that can be found in most stores. These creams are used to treat skin infections, sore muscles and tension. By rubbing a small amount of cream on the affected area, you will feel the pain and irritation subside. If you are using a cream, make sure to read the directions carefully so that you don’t use too much. Also, be sure to wash your hands after applying capsaicin cream because it can cause a burning sensation on your hands; try washing with vinegar and water for the best results.

In conclusion, adding Cayenne pepper to your meals not only makes them taste better but it also has several health benefits. Consuming cayenne pepper supports your digestion, helps with weight loss, boosts your immune system and has the ability to help your body’s pain response. Some studies have shown that cayenne pepper can help with serious health issues such as cancer, candida, cholesterol, IBS to name a few, so why not add cayenne pepper to all your meals as a preventative tasty addition.