Cayenne Pepper Benefits That Will Spice Up Your Life
When the Spice Girls told me to “Spice up my life” – I listened. That’s why I’m super into researching more about cayenne pepper benefits recently. As you might know, cayenne pepper is a well-known spice for the food we eat – but it’s also known as a medicinal spice. In fact, many people consider cayenne peppers to be the best of all medicinal herbs because they have been used for thousands of years to help treat various ailments. As an added bonus, not only do cayenne peppers have amazing medicinal properties but eating cayenne peppers will also provide you with amazing beneficial nutrients. Want to learn more? We’ll break down everything you need to know about the most common cayenne pepper benefits.
What Are Cayenne Peppers?
So, first thing’s first – what are cayenne peppers? They’re a type of chili pepper and are closely related to bell peppers and jalapeños. If you cook or just have a love for food, you’ll know that cayenne is a popular spice used in many different regional styles of cooking, but you may have not known that they have been used medicinally for thousands of years. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in cayenne peppers, is what gives them their medicinal properties and their hot taste (1). How hot a cayenne pepper depends on its capsaicin content, as the more capsaicin it contains, the hotter it is.
They have TONS of nutrients that are great for your gut health and skin, including a variety of antioxidants that will help reduce oxidative stress, lessen free radical damage, and prevent premature aging.
To break down the cayenne pepper’s nutrition profile and some of the best cayenne pepper benefits, here is a short list of all of the amazing healthy nutrients you can get from cayenne:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin K
Cayenne Pepper Benefits
Now that you know the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals you can get from cayenne, let’s put them into perspective by discussing the specific ailments that cayenne peppers are used to treat.
1. Boosting Metabolism
The capsaicin in cayenne peppers that we mentioned earlier has metabolism-boosting properties that can help you burn more calories by increasing the amount of heat your body naturally produces. It does this through a process called diet-induced thermogenesis, which causes an increase in your metabolism (1).
2. Weight Loss
If you’re aiming to reduce your calorie intake, another one of the cayenne pepper benefits is reducing hunger to help you eat less and feel fuller longer.
3. Lowering Blood Pressure
Over the years, scientists have been studying the many ways we can avoid high blood pressure. Recently, some studies have shown that capsaicin in cayenne peppers may reduce high blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels. However, more studies need to be done in this area.
4. Aiding Gut Health
Spices like cayenne and their active ingredients can provide a huge amount of benefits for your gut. For instance, cayenne peppers can help boost the stomach’s defense against infections, increase digestive fluid production, and help deliver enzymes in the stomach to aid in digestion (1).
5. Relieving Pain
Like CBD, cayenne peppers have strong pain-relieving properties when they are added to topical creams. Why? Capsaicin helps prevent pain signals from reaching the brain. For this reason, capsaicin is often added to topical skin creams, lotions, and gels, and it is used for joint and muscle pain, lower back pain, pain after surgery, and pain from nerve conditions.
6. Improving Psoriasis
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that manifests as patches of red, itchy, and scaly skin. Currently, there is no cure for psoriasis, but the capsaicin creams we mentioned before can help relieve itching and improve the appearance of psoriasis on the skin.
7. Increase Circulation
Getting a consistent intake of cayenne peppers regularly can provide a boost in circulation and is great for warming up your body when you’re cold. Plus, it can cause your brain to release more endorphins to boost your mood and reduce stress as a result.
8. Antifungal and Antibacterial Benefits
It’s a common kitchen trick to sprinkle cayenne pepper on small cuts to slow blood flow and disinfect the wound (2). Cayenne pepper can equalize the blood pressure to allow cuts to clot quickly.
9. Natural Decongestant
Many people often use cayenne in their morning detox tea or detox water to aid in weight loss, boost their immune system, and stimulate the digestive system. However, it can also be used to help break up congestion when you’re feeling a bit under the weather. Add a bit of cayenne pepper powder and ginger to your tea and bam – your head cold is as good as gone.
How to Use Cayenne Pepper For Its Full Benefits
Luckily for us, cayenne peppers are super easy to incorporate into our diets since they come in so many different forms. Whether it comes as a whole pepper, a grounded-up spice, or a supplement, there are plenty of ways to get a proper intake of cayenne peppers if you’re looking to get their full benefits.
Below, we’re going to break down some different ways to include cayenne peppers in your diet and provide you with links to check out if you’re interested in topical treatments. However, before trying any of these methods of getting your cayenne pepper intake, you should be sure to perform a patch test with any topical creams to avoid negative reactions or try the cayenne before adding it to any recipe to make sure you can handle the spice.
Foods and beverages you can add cayenne on/in for all the best cayenne pepper benefits:
- Soups or stews
- Egg dishes such as scrambled eggs, soufflés, quiches, omelets, or egg salad
- Hot chocolate and lemonade
- Marinades and rubs
- Salad dressings and homemade hot sauce
- Dipping sauces, hummus, salsa, and guacamole
- Breadcrumb mixture for fried foods
- Detox tea/water
- Pasta sauce
- Potato dishes such as baked potatoes, potato skins, or french fries
Besides getting the full cayenne pepper benefits from food, you can also take cayenne pepper supplements, buy cayenne pepper powder, and use topical creams. Here are some links to check out if you’re interested:
Written by Selena Ponton