Benefits of cayenne pepper includes boosting metabolism, improving digestion, reducing inflammation, and even helping with weight loss. But did you know that cayenne pepper also helps boost energy levels and increase athletic performance?
In this article, I’m going to share with you how cayenne pepper can help you get fit, lose fat, and feel great!
Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, which increases metabolic rate and boosts endurance. It also reduces appetite, improves digestion, and aids in weight loss. And finally, cayenne pepper can reduce joint pain, lower cholesterol, and prevent heart disease.
If you’ve never tried cayenne before, then you should definitely try it. Here are 16 reasons why you should add cayenne to your diet.
History Of Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper got its name from the city in French Guiana where it was originally grown. This region was named after the indigenous Arawak tribe called Taino Indians. They lived there around 500 AD.
Christopher Columbus had discovered these fruits during his voyages across the Caribbean. He brought them back to Spain and Portugal as a replacement for black pepper, which was very expensive back then.
Today, cayenne pepper grows worldwide.
Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper
Some major health benefits of cayenne pepper are as follows.
1. Provides Relief From Migraines
Migraine sufferers often turn to over-the-counter medications like Tylenol PM or Excedrin PM, which contain acetaminophen, one of the most common ingredients used in headache treatments. But according to research conducted at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, cayenne pepper may offer relief without the side effects associated with those drugs.
In the study, researchers analyzed data from a survey completed by nearly 2,500 people, including migraineurs, about how effective different remedies were at relieving their symptoms.
They found that compared to placebo, participants reported statistically significant improvements in pain intensity, quality of life, number of days missed from work, and overall satisfaction with treatment. The results suggest that cayenne pepper could be an alternative option to traditional migraine therapies.
2. Boost Metabolism
Capsaicin, one of the most potent spices out there, contains a compound called capsaicinoids that are known to boost metabolism. This spice is often added to many dishes, including hot sauce, chili peppers, and even some candy bars. And according to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry, it might help people shed pounds faster (1).
The researchers gave 10 overweight men half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper every day for three months. They found that those who consumed the spice had a significant increase in resting energy expenditure (REE). REE measures how much energy you burn while sitting still. This helps explain why people who eat spicy food tend to feel fuller longer.
In addition, the men who took cayenne experienced a decrease in appetite and an increase in satiety. In layman’s terms, they felt less hungry and ate fewer calories throughout the day.
So what does this mean for you?
First off, don’t go overboard. You’ll probably notice an uptick in your heart rate and breathing if you start taking in too much cayenne pepper too quickly. But if you’re looking to drop a few extra pounds, add cayenne pepper to meals like soups, salads, eggs, pasta, pizza, burgers, tacos, and stir fries. Or try sprinkling it onto popcorn or dipping chips into salsa.
3. Lowers Blood Pressure
Capsaicin, the compound responsible for the heat in Cayenne pepper contains substances called capsaicinoids. These compounds have been known to reduce hypertension (2) in animals and in some clinical trials, although there isn’t enough evidence to say whether they work for humans.
In one small study, researchers gave capsules containing cayenne pepper powder to 10 patients with mild to moderate hypertension.
After four weeks, systolic blood pressure had dropped by an average of 6 mm/Hg, while diastolic pressure remained unchanged. Another study showed that supplementing diets with powdered cayenne pepper lowered blood pressure in rats.
And in another rat experiment, capsaicinoid supplements improved arterial function and reduced oxidative stress in the heart.
4. Improve Digestive Health
Capsaicin, the compound found in cayenne peppers, is a natural stimulant that increases gastric secretions (3) and promotes peristalsis. This action helps improve digestion and nutrient absorption. In addition, it can help eliminate ulcers. Capsaicin works best when taken with meals since it requires some time to take effect.
5. Reduces Pain
Capsaicin, an active component found in Cayenne peppers, reduces pain by depleting a neuropeptide called Substance P. This chemical plays a role in transmitting pain signals from one nerve cell to another. As a result, capsaicin decreases the amount of Substance P in the spinal cord and brain stem. And since Substance P is responsible for sending painful messages to your nerves, less Substance P means less pain.
There are many ways to use capsaicin in your diet. You can eat spicy foods like chilis, hot sauces, and Tabasco sauce. Or you can add it to food during cooking or baking. For example, sprinkle ground red pepper flakes onto meatloaf or sprinkle crushed red pepper over baked potatoes. If you’re feeling adventurous, try adding a pinch of dried powdered capsicum (cayenne) to your morning coffee.
When taken orally, capsaicin does not cause stomach upset because it doesn’t affect the lining of the digestive tract. However, people who take large amounts of capsaicin orally experience burning sensations in their mouths and throats.
6. Helps Prevent Cancer
Capsaicin, a compound found in Cayenne peppers, seems to help fight breast cancer (4). Researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center conducted a study where they compared the effects of capsaicin against those of another common spice, black pepper. They discovered that while both spices had similar anti-cancer properties, capsaicin was better at preventing breast cancer.
In a separate study, researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine tested capsaicin against prostate cancer. They found that it could reduce tumor growth and inhibit the spread of cancer cells.
The study authors concluded that capsaicin might prove useful in treating prostate cancer because it causes cancer cells to die off quickly. This helps prevent tumors from growing larger and spreading throughout the body.
7. Helps Ease Joint Pain
Capsaicin is one of the most effective natural remedies for relieving joint pain. This substance is found in chili peppers and is known to help reduce inflammation. In fact, capsaicin helps relieve pain caused by arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. You can use it directly on the affected area or apply it to a topical cream.
8. Helps in Clearing Congestion
Capsaicin, the active compound in cayenne peppers, stimulates the body’s production of mucus. This helps loosen phlegm and relieve nasal congestion (5).
According to WebMD, cayenne pepper is often recommended to help ease congestion during the winter months. And while it does work well against cold symptoms, it won’t actually cure a cold. But it can make breathing easier.
Capsaicin works best if taken internally, either in capsule form or added to food like chili sauce. You can also try adding cayenne to tea or coffee.
9. Helps in Protecting the Heart
Capsaicin found in peppers has been proven to help protect the heart. A study showed that eating just one cup of raw bell peppers per day lowered blood pressure and decreased the body’s inflammatory response. Capsaicin inhibits thromboxane B 2 production, an enzyme associated blood clotting and inflammation.
The capsaicin in caysine pepper can also prevent cholesterol depositions in your arteries, reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In addition, it helps lower high blood pressure, which increases your risk of cardiovascular problems.
10. Helps with blood circulation
Cayenne pepper may act as an effective natural remedy for people suffering from high blood pressure.
A study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology found that consuming one teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper each day improved blood flow in patients with mild hypertension. In addition, the researchers observed that the spice increased levels of nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure.
The findings support previous research that suggests cayenne pepper helps lower blood pressure in animals. However, the researchers caution that further studies are needed to determine whether there could be adverse reactions associated with long-term use of cayenne pepper.
11. Reduces stress
Capsaicin, the compound found in Cayenne peppers, is one of nature’s most powerful natural painkillers. In fact, it’s been used for centuries to treat everything from arthritis and diabetes to migraines and indigestion. Research now suggests that capsaicin might even help you lose weight.
In one study published earlier this year, researchers gave mice either regular chow or food containing capsaicin. After four weeks, those eating the spicy food had lost up to 10% of their body fat compared to those fed normal food.
Capsaicin apparently stimulates the release of endorphins (6) – naturally occurring chemicals that give us a sense of wellbeing and pleasure. This helps explain why people often crave spicy foods.
12. Boosts energy
Cayenne pepper is one of those foods you probably don’t think about much, but it could help you gain more energy during the day.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that taking 500 mg of cayenne powder twice daily improved blood circulation and increased oxygen delivery to the brain and muscles. This led to better mental alertness and physical endurance.
The researchers theorized that the effects are due to the fact that cayenne contains a compound called capsaicin, which stimulates the body’s release of endorphins — chemicals associated with pain relief and mood enhancement.
13. Offers anti-aging benefits
Capsaicin, one of the main ingredients found in cayenne peppers, has been proven to increase energy levels and boost metabolism. This increases the body’s ability to burn calories and reduce fat storage. Capsaicin has also been known to help improve cardiovascular health and prevent heart disease.
A 2004 study in Cellular Biochemisty showed that capsaicin increased mitochondrial production by 50% and improved mitochondrial function (7). Mitochondria are responsible for producing energy within cells. They produce ATP, the primary source of cellular energy.
The findings suggest that cayenne pepper could potentially slow down the aging process. Cayenne pepper contains many antioxidants that fight free radicals. Free radicals cause damage to DNA and proteins, leading to premature aging. Eating cayenne pepper regularly can protect against oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is the accumulation of free radical molecules in tissues due to exposure to environmental toxins and radiation.
14. Helps Detoxify
Detoxification is one of those things we don’t really talk about much. But it’s something we definitely want to do every now and again. If you’re feeling sluggish, bloated, or just plain tired, it might be worth trying out a detox diet. A detox diet involves cutting down on calories, drinking plenty of fluids, and taking supplements, such as vitamin B6 and magnesium.
One of the most famous detox diets involves cayenne pepper and lemons. In fact, there are several different versions of this diet, including the “Burroughs Diet,” which was invented by Stanley Burroughs in the 1940s. He suggested that people suffering from digestive problems try his diet, which involved drinking a mixture of water, lemon juice and cayenne pepper three times a day.
The diet worked because it lowered the body’s absorption of nutrients, which meant less food had to be eaten to meet the same nutritional requirements.
15. Has Antimicrobial Properties
Cayenne peppers are known for their heat, flavor, and medicinal powers. They contain capsaicin, a compound that gives cayenne peppers their piquant taste. Capsaicin is also used in some over-the-counter pain relievers, such as Tylenol PM.
There are a few studies suggesting that capsicum might inhibit the growth of bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonella typhimurium.
Studies suggest that capsaicin may reduce inflammation and swelling, which could help speed recovery.
16. Improves Immunity
Cayenne peppers contain capsaicinoids, which are known for their ability to stimulate the release of endorphins into the bloodstream, thus increasing energy levels and improving overall health.
Capsaicinoids also help improve blood flow throughout the body, which helps eliminate toxins and free radicals. This makes it easier for the body to fight off infections and disease.
In addition, eating cayenne peppers increases body temperature, which boosts the immune system.
In conclusion, cayenne pepper has been used throughout history for its medicinal properties. Today, it continues to be used for its culinary purposes, but also because of its ability to boost metabolism, reduce inflammation, and improve digestion. Cayenne pepper may even have anti-cancer properties. And if you’re looking for ways to spice up your diet, adding a little bit of cayenne pepper into your meals could be the key to losing weight without feeling deprived.
Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.