Cayenne pepper is used as a seasoning in many cuisines. The pepper is also used to help treat a wide variety of ailments because of its medicinal properties.
Cayenne pepper contains several beneficial nutrients, such as vitamin C, potassium, and manganese. The active ingredient in cayenne peppers that also gives them their spiciness is a chemical compound called capsaicin.
There are many ways to consume the pepper, but caution is advised because some forms may cause stomach irritation or interact with certain medications. Cayenne pepper can be eaten raw, added to foods as a spice powder, or taken as a supplement.
Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper
Learn about some of the major health benefits of cayenne pepper now.
1. Clears Nasal Congestion
Cayenne pepper is a natural remedy for coughs, colds, flu, and the congestion they cause. Cayenne pepper contains vitamin C, beta carotene, and antioxidants, which all contribute to treating illnesses that cause nasal congestion.
Consumption of the pepper may also help ease congestion by contracting the blood vessels in the nose and throat. Cayenne pepper clears nasal congestion by helping break it up so it can flow freely and leave the body, often creating a runny nose.
The spice can be combined with many other spices or with fluids like honey to create mixtures or hot beverages to help clear congestion.
2. Aids in Digestion
One of the well-known health benefits of cayenne pepper is its ability to support many parts of the digestive process. Cayenne pepper aids in digestion by stimulating many different processes in the stomach.
It prompts the production of digestive fluids and enzymes, which are both integral components of the digestive system’s proper function.
Cayenne pepper also triggers the production of saliva, which serves an important role in digestion. The stimulation of the salivary glands is necessary to begin the digestive process.
Gastric juices needed to help metabolize food and toxins are also stimulated by the consumption of cayenne pepper. Ingestion of the pepper also provides protection against infections by stimulating the appropriate, defensive stomach nerves.
3. May Soothe Joint Pain
The active ingredient in cayenne pepper, capsaicin, has powerful pain-relieving properties. Cayenne pepper also boasts anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties for natural pain relief.
Capsaicin may soothe joint pain because it decreases the amount of a chemical that carries pain messages to the brain. This chemical is called substance P, and pain will decrease when its production lessens because it won’t be able to reach the brain.
The use of ointments or creams containing a sufficient amount of purified capsaicin has been shown to provide pain relief for osteoarthritis and similar conditions that cause joint pain like fibromyalgia.
Individuals can also create their own remedy with the spice for application to the affected area.
4. Boosts Cardiovascular Health
Cayenne pepper boosts cardiovascular health by helping prevent blood clots from developing and being problematic. Blood clots decrease blood flow through the circulatory system, and they can lead to strokes or heart attacks. The arteries and blood vessels constrict because of these blockages, and blood flow becomes limited.
Eating cayenne pepper boosts cardiovascular health because its active ingredient widens the arteries and blood vessels. This is necessary for the removal of clots and to clear away the buildup of deposits that narrow the arteries.
High blood pressure is another cardiovascular problem that may be helped by the consumption of cayenne pepper, according to animal studies. The capsaicin in the pepper may reduce blood pressure by helping relax blood vessels.
Cayenne pepper also helps to lower cholesterol and fat, both of which can lead to cardiovascular issues if allowed to build up in the arteries.
5. May Reduce Hunger
The capsaicin found in cayenne peppers may reduce hunger by suppressing appetite. Many research studies show a reduction in hunger after consumption of cayenne pepper.
This is because the capsaicin in cayenne pepper actually reduces production of the hunger hormones, so individuals feel full longer and eat less throughout the day.
In addition, cayenne pepper boosts metabolism and may promote weight loss, as it increases core body temperature and burns calories. It can also normalize glucose levels, which may also contribute to a decrease in hunger.
Abnormally high glucose levels interfere with the conversion of food into energy, and this interruption reduces the body’s store of available energy and causes an increase in hunger.