Calling all spicy food lovers (and those whose bodies can tolerate it)! That hot, red powdery herb we season our food with has more advantages than just spicing up a typical recipe. According to recent research, there are several positive uses of cayenne pepper that may add more quality to our physical health.
NATURAL PAIN RELIEVER
The active ingredient in cayenne pepper is capsaicin which has strong pain-relieving abilities. Capsaicin reduces the amount of “substance P,” which is a chemical that sends pain messages to the brain. The more substance P is reduced, the less physical pain is felt. Capsaicin is available in topical creams that help conditions such as joint pain, muscle pain, and lower back pain. This should be taken with caution, as these types of creams cannot be applied on broken skin or open wounds.
FILLED WITH ANTIOXIDANTS
Red peppers contain naturally occurring antioxidants such as vitamins A and E as well as capsaicin. Antioxidants fight off free radicals (unhealthy molecules that are caused by stress) that can cause cancers and inflammations if not treated. Capsaicin is shown to be capable of inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.
MORE ON VITAMINS A AND E
These red hot agents are substantial sources of vitamins A and E. Vitamin A is critical for maintaining sharp vision, brain function, and healthy skin. Vitamin E is practical for healthy hair, skin, and nails. It’s also vital for healthy organ function and can slow down the aging process inside and out.
COLD AND FLU REMEDY
The main catalyst of cold and flu viruses is the presence and production of mucus. Cayenne pepper is high in beta carotene and antioxidants that promote a strong immune system. Cayenne pepper can aid in breaking up and moving congested mucus in the body. Once the mucus drains from the body, the chances of catching a cold or flu diminishes greatly. The capsaicin—there’s that word again—in red peppers is used to help thin out mucus when someone gets a cold, so it’s very useful in clearing up nasal congestion.
Naturally occurring spices such as cayenne pepper may strengthen your stomach and how it functions. When consumed, cayenne pepper helps our bodies produce saliva (which works as a digestive fluid) to help in digestion. Cayenne pepper may also boost the stomach’s defense against infections.
MAY HELP PSORIASIS
While there is currently no cure for psoriasis, capsaicin creams can help reduce the pain caused by this condition and tone down the appearance of redness and dryness. This antioxidant also helps the condition by reducing the effect of substance P in the body.
SUPPORTS WEIGHT LOSS
There are a few ways cayenne pepper may support weight loss: it can help reduce hunger, boosts metabolism, and burn calories. It is believed to help suppress hunger because it reduces the production of the hunger hormone, ghrelin, making you feel fuller longer so you eat less. Consuming cayenne pepper helps burn calories also. When cayenne pepper settles into our bodies, the natural spiciness of the herb causes our bodies to produce more heat. The heat produced by cayenne pepper consumption helps to burn more calories, thus boosting metabolism!
Are you ready to handle the heat? There are countless dishes that work well with cayenne pepper such as seafood, burgers, salads, soups, and more!