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Cayenne pepper is a thin, red pepper that has a fiery taste and a mild smell. As it is a versatile spice, you can add it to various meals. Cayenne pepper is a staple spice in Mexican and Southwestern American cuisine. It contains Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, and flavonoids. If you know the wonderful health benefits of cayenne pepper, you will surely incorporate this spice into your diet.
Cayenne pepper has been an integral part of the Native American medicine and cuisine for about 9000 years. The hot, chili pepper belongs to the Capsicum family. It is closely related to bell pepper and jalapeno pepper. Cayenne peppers are dried and grounded to form a powdered spice. It is used for seasoning various dishes.
Capsaicin is the most important ingredient in cayenne pepper. It is responsible for the spiciness. It is also helpful in treating aches of joints and muscles. In Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine, cayenne pepper is often used for increasing appetite and treating circulatory problems. If you have an open wound, you must make sure that your skin does not get exposed to cayenne pepper.
12 Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper
Capsaicin present in cayenne pepper is responsible for the amazing health benefits of cayenne pepper. Let’s take a look at its wonderful health benefits:
1. Relieves congestion
One of the most popular health benefits of cayenne pepper is that it provides relief from congestion. If you are suffering from cold, cough, and congestion, you must have cayenne pepper. It relieves congestion temporarily by shrinking blood vessels in the throat and nose.
You can prepare a simple recipe at home using cayenne pepper. You will need cayenne pepper, ground ginger, honey, apple cider vinegar, and water to make the home remedy. Combine 2 spoons of water, 1 spoon of apple cider vinegar, 1 spoon of honey, ¼ spoon of cayenne pepper, and ¼ spoon of ground ginger.
You can also mix ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper and ½ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a cup of hot tea. It will clear the sinuses.
2. Relieves pain
Capsaicin, the primary ingredient in cayenne pepper exhibits pain-relieving properties. It works as a long-term analgesic without causing any side-effect. Capsaicin reduces the amount of the chemical, P that transmits pain messages to your brain.
Ointments and creams that contain 0.025-0.075% purified capsaicin reduce pain caused by osteoarthritis. Applying the ointment thrice every day to the site of pain can provide instant relief. Many topical creams and ointments contain capsaicin. They provide relief from the pain of osteoarthritis, nerve pain due to shingles, surgery pain, and lower back pain.
When you apply capsaicin to your skin, your brain releases the feel-good hormone called dopamine. It decreases pain and offers a sense of pleasure. According to some studies, capsaicin can also effectively reduce pain related to cancer. It provides relief from muscle cramps.
Cayenne pepper is good for treating migraine pain and provides foot pain relief as well. You can consume it orally for getting relief from pain. It decreases PAF (platelet aggregation factor) that causes migraines by constricting the circulation of blood in your head.
3. Boosts metabolism
The capsaicin present in cayenne pepper can boost your metabolism. It helps you burn more calories by increasing the amount of heat that your body produces. The process by which it boosts your metabolism is known as diet-induced thermogenesis.
4. Makes you feel fuller for a longer time
One of the best reasons for having cayenne pepper is that it makes you feel fuller for a longer time. According to a study, cayenne pepper decreases the production of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. People who had cayenne pepper in breakfast ate lesser food throughout the day. They did not have frequent cravings. Although they ate fewer calories, they felt fuller throughout the day.
5. Aids digestion
One of the best health benefits of cayenne pepper is that it facilitates digestion. Dietary spices such as cayenne pepper are extremely beneficial for your stomach. If you have cayenne pepper regularly, it will boost the defense of your stomach against various infections. It will also increase the production of digestive fluid and facilitate digestion by ensuring proper flow of enzymes to the stomach. The capsaicin present in cayenne pepper decreases the risk of stomach ulcers and improves digestive health.
6. Can help in lowering high blood pressure
High blood pressure is one of the largest health risks in the world. The capsaicin present in cayenne pepper can help in lowering high blood pressure. According to a study, long-term consumption of cayenne pepper can lower blood pressure to a large extent.
Cayenne pepper increases blood flow by opening up the blood vessels. When the rate of blood flow increases, your blood pressure comes down naturally. Capsaicin is also capable of affecting the sensory nerves which work in association with the neurohormonal system of the body. This plays an important role in lowering blood pressure.
You should not treat cayenne pepper as a medication for high blood pressure. It is a supplementation that you should take along with your medication. Add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to a half glass of lukewarm water. Drink regularly before going to bed.
7. Can prevent cancer
According to some studies, capsaicin present in cayenne pepper can prevent cancer. Capsaicin has the ability to cause apoptosis or death of cancer cells. It can also prevent cancer cells from traveling across the body. Research shows that capsaicin is effective in treating various types of cancer such as breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer.
8. Keeps the heart healthy
One of the most amazing health benefits of cayenne pepper is that it keeps the heart healthy. Apart from lowering high blood pressure, it can also prevent blood clots, thereby preventing heart attacks. The capsaicin present in cayenne pepper clears the deposits of lipids that block the arteries.
According to studies, cayenne pepper can treat palpitations, irregular heartbeat, and other blood circulation problems. If the heart disease is associated with diabetes, cayenne pepper can prevent the disease. It also helps in reducing plaques.
9. Detoxifies the body
Cayenne pepper can help in detoxifying your system. If you want to detoxify your body, you should have cayenne pepper. There is a popular 10-days detox diet that consists of lemon and cayenne pepper. You don’t need to follow the detox diet as it might make you feel weak. The best way to detox your body is to add cayenne pepper to your regular meals. It will facilitate detoxification.
10. Exhibits antimicrobial properties
One of the lesser known health benefits of cayenne pepper is that it exhibits antimicrobial properties. It can prevent bacterial and fungal infection if there is an injury.
11. Heals toothaches
If you are having a toothache, you can use cayenne pepper to heal it. It is an old home remedy. Cayenne pepper reduces a toothache by acting as a counter-irritant. It also ensures the proper flow of blood to your gums.
12. Keeps your hair and skin healthy
According to some research, cayenne pepper is beneficial for your hair and skin. The capsaicin present in cayenne pepper exhibits anti-inflammatory properties. It can soothe skin irritation and redness. Cayenne pepper can also treat acne.
Combine ½ ripe avocado, one spoon of cayenne pepper, and one spoon of cocoa powder to form a fine paste. Apply the pack on your face and leave it for about 15 minutes before rinsing it off. As cayenne pepper is rich in vitamins, it can improve the health of your hair. Mix ½ spoon of cayenne pepper with 1 spoon of honey. Apply it to your scalp thoroughly. Wash your hair after half an hour. You will have stronger and shiny hair.
Now that you know the wonderful health benefits of cayenne pepper, you must incorporate it into your regular diet. Apart from keeping you healthy, it will also satiate your taste buds. As it is a versatile ingredient, you can add it to various dishes.
When you are cooking a curry, you can add cayenne pepper for enhancing its taste. You can also make a homemade dressing by using cayenne pepper. Mix cayenne pepper, vinegar, olive oil, and other seasonings for the dressing.
However, you must avoid having too much of cayenne pepper as it can result in kidney or liver damage. Cayenne pepper can be dangerous for children who are below two years. Pregnant women should also stay away from this spice.