Cayenne pepper is a spicy chili often used in cooking to add heat to a dish and can be found in chili form, or dried and ground into a powder. The pepper originates from South and Central America, named after a city in French Guiana. This ingredient has been part of the Native American diet and medicine for over 9,000 years and most of its health benefits can be credited to the active component, capsaicin. So if you’re ready to find out how to use the secrets of ancient medicine in the modern world, keep reading on for our Top 5 Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper!
1. Reduces pain
The spice in cayenne pepper causes pain in a different area of the body, ‘distracting’ the brain from the original source of pain. After this short-term reaction to the spice, the nerve endings are depleted of the chemical that causes pain (Substance P) and so the sensation of pain in the body is lessened. Perfect for soothing migraines, toothache or sinusitis.
2. Aids weight loss
Cayenne pepper works in multiple ways to help weight loss; increase metabolism, reduce appetite and soothe bloating. In a study on 25 non-overweight adults it was found that cayenne pepper increased core body temperature burning more calories per hour.
3. Clears congestion
Cayenne pepper works as a decongestant, by helping to open airways. It does this by contracting the blood vessels in the nose and also stimulating mucus production, thereby clearing the blocked passages. It is also an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and an anti-fungal, so helps treat the underlying problem simultaneously.
4. Maintains good circulation
Cayenne pepper results in improved cardiac blood flow in many ways. It stimulates circulation by opening capillaries, stops blood clots by encouraging fibrinolytic activity and clears arteries of lipid deposits. Famed herbalist Dr John Christopher claimed to be able to instantly stop a heart attack, just by having the patient drink a glass of warm cayenne water!
5. Aids digestion
Firstly, cayenne pepper stimulates the production of saliva, an important first step in the digestive process. It then goes on to stimulate enzyme and gastric juice production, both vital elements in ensuring our body can metabolise food. It also stimulates intestinal peristaltic motion, further aiding the digestive system.
To make it even better, cayenne pepper can be introduced into the diet in many ways. Mix into a barbeque rub for added heat, drink with lemon in hot water, or my personal favourite – add it to a cheese sauce for a twist on the classic mac ‘n’ cheese. Get creative and try adding it into anything you fancy for a healthy and warming kick. Let us know your favourite uses of cayenne pepper below or @KeepfitKingdom !