Cayenne pepper is a great ingredient for anyone that likes to add a little extra spice to their cooking. This is one of the key spices used in curry dishes and is what gives them the kick that really helps them to stand out – along with being very flavorsome to boot!
But did you know that cayenne pepper is also a great ingredient for your health? As we’ll see, this fiery ingredient can help you to potentially lose weight faster, as well as adding nutritional benefits and more. In this post, we’ll look at some of the best cayenne pepper benefits that you need to know about!
Cayenne pepper’s biggest claim to fame when it comes to health is its weight loss-related properties.
It can do this first and foremost by raising the metabolism. Your metabolic rate tells you just how quickly your body can burn through fat in order to provide you with fuel to keep on moving. The faster your metabolism, then generally the more energetic and slim you will be.
You know how some people can eat a massive meals three times a day and still look incredibly thin, while others exercise and eat nothing but leaves and still look plump? Metabolism is a big part of the answer.
And the good news is that studies show that eating chilis and spices will actually raise the metabolism for as much as 30 minutes after consuming. This is a little like drinking a strong cup of coffee and you shouldn’t expect it to be a game changer, but it’s certainly nice to know that after eating this spice, your body will be able to burn through food quicker and you’ll be less likely to pack on the pounds.
The specific ingredient responsible for this effect? According to research it appears to be down to something called dihydrocapsiate, which is the same capsinoid found in capsaicin – another great weight loss aid. This basically raises the body’s temperature, and the body then need to work hard to cool you back down and to maintain equilibrium. This is where the calories are being burned and why the heartrate increases, speeding up the metabolism.
Oh, and an interesting quirk is the same research also found that these effects were most noticeable in people who didn’t usually like spicy food. It appears that if you react more strongly to spicy food and thus find it more difficult to eat, then you will heat up more, causing your body to work even harder to cool you down.
What’s more, is that cayenne peppers also seem to be effective as appetite suppressants. This likely works by increasing hormones that are related to satiety such as serotonin and leptin.
For all these reasons, cayenne pepper, just like capsaicin, often finds itself included in ‘fat burning’ supplements that are designed to help users lose weight more quickly.
Cayenne peppers are vasodilators, meaning that they help to widen the blood vessels and thereby support healthy blood flow. This is important for numerous reasons, as it means the body is able to deliver more blood, oxygen and nutrients to the parts of the body that need it. During exercise, that means more energy and nutrients for the muscles and brain – while it might also be able to improve brain function.
Cayenne peppers are dense with their content of nutrients. From these peppers, you can expect to get sodium, carbohydrate, dietary fiber, sugar, protein, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin K, manganese and potassium.
Of all these nutrients, the most abundant by far is vitamin A. A single teaspoon of cayenne pepper will get you 44% of your vitamin A RDA. Vitamin A is very important for bone growth, reproduction and the strength of the immune system. It is also well known for its benefits for the skin as well as for vision.
One of the most important cayenne pepper benefits is its ability to improve digestive function. Cayenne pepper encourages the production of saliva, which in turn contains many important digestive enzymes. It is important to think of the mouth as the first step in the digestive system and by breaking down food more efficiently here, it will have an easier time being digested and then absorbed later on. It also helps to encourage the production of gastric juices, which will help with the absorption of key nutrients.
Cayenne pepper might just be a good choice for those suffering with migraine pain or in fact any form of pain.
This is because cayenne pepper creates a sensation similar to pain through its spiciness. This helps to distract the brain from the original source of pain and seeing as pain is very much controlled by focus and attention, that can be enough to drastically reduce the perception of pain and discomfort.
Actually, cayenne pepper might even be useful as a topical analgesic. In studies, it has been found that applying cayenne pepper directly to areas of pain can help to block the production of substance P. Substance P is a chemical that carries pain messages to the brain and so through this method, you can help to interfere with that pain and therefore reduce the sensation.
In a similar way, it also seems to be effective as an anti-irritant which makes it a good choice for easing stomach ulcers, coughs and potentially diarrhoea.
As you can see then, there are countless cayenne pepper benefits for your health and when you consider that it’s such an easy way to add flavor to your cooking without drastically increasing your calorie intake, it really becomes a no-brainer. Keep it in your cupboard!