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The Spicy Secret: 10 Health Benefits of Adding Cayenne Peppers to Your Diet

Monday, November 27th 2023 10:00am 4 min read
Dr. Jessica Peatross dr.jess.md @drjessmd

Hospitalist & top functional MD who gets to the root cause. Stealth infection & environmental toxicity keynote speaker.

Cayenne peppers, those fiery red gems, not only add a kick to your meals but also pack a punch of health benefits. From pain relief to digestive health and weight management, here are ten compelling reasons to incorporate cayenne peppers into your diet.

1. Pain Relief: Cayenne peppers owe their pain-relieving properties to capsaicin, a natural compound that gives them their characteristic heat. Capsaicin has been studied extensively for its ability to alleviate pain by inhibiting substance P, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in pain perception. This makes cayenne peppers a valuable addition to the diets of individuals dealing with chronic pain, such as those with osteoarthritis or neuropathy. Research has shown that topical capsaicin applications can provide relief from conditions like back pain, and it’s often used in pain-relief creams and patches.

2. Weight Management: If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, cayenne peppers might be your new best friend. Capsaicin is known to boost metabolism by increasing the body’s core temperature and enhancing calorie expenditure. Additionally, it can help curb appetite and reduce calorie intake, making you feel full for longer periods. A study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found that capsaicin consumption increased energy expenditure and fat oxidation, indicating its potential role in weight management. However, it’s essential to remember that cayenne pepper alone won’t guarantee weight loss; it should be part of a balanced diet and active lifestyle to yield the best results.

3. Digestive Health: Cayenne peppers have long been celebrated for their digestive benefits. The heat from capsaicin can stimulate the production of digestive enzymes and boost the overall digestive process. This increased efficiency can help reduce symptoms of indigestion, bloating, and gas, making cayenne a valuable spice for those with gastrointestinal discomfort. Additionally, cayenne peppers may stimulate the production of gastric mucus, which can protect the stomach lining from damage caused by excessive stomach acid. However, it’s important to note that individuals with sensitive stomachs or digestive conditions like acid reflux should consume cayenne peppers in moderation, as they may exacerbate symptoms in some cases.

4. Heart Health: Cayenne peppers can also contribute to a healthy heart. Capsaicin may help lower blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels and improving circulation. A study in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” showed that regular consumption of capsaicin-rich foods was associated with a reduction in blood pressure levels. Furthermore, cayenne peppers may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, which can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Their ability to enhance circulation may also be beneficial for individuals with conditions like Raynaud’s disease, which causes poor blood flow to extremities.

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