Cayenne Pepper: What You Probably Didn’t Realize
By Brandi Monasco
Being from the South, I have a love for spicy foods. I use cayenne pepper in a lot of my recipes to give them that little “kick” of spice.
I have always know that cayenne pepper could help clear up a stuffy nose, but until recently, I didn’t know how good cayenne pepper actually is for your body!
What Is Cayenne Pepper?
Cayenne pepper is closely related to the jalapeno pepper, which is another hot pepper (and a favorite of mine). In Texas, it is usually considered a staple for our spice rack.
The substance that gives cayenne pepper its bite is called capsaicin, which you might be familiar with because of the capsaicin cream that is used on the skin to help relieve pain. This is the same capsaicin that comes from cayenne peppers.
Cayenne pepper has been used in both traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine and it has been used as both medicine and food for the last 9,000 years. Traditional Chinese medicine uses cayenne to help remedy digestive ailments while Ayurveda uses it to help with gas and poor digestion.
Cayenne can be found in its natural form as a pepper, a dry powdered form, a cream, or a capsule.
Benefits Of This Awesome Pepper
Cayenne pepper acts as a natural vasodilator that helps improve blood flow. Because it increases blood flow, cayenne pepper is said to speed the recovery process of damaged tissue because the blood brings nutrients to the tissue and carries away toxins from the damaged area.
Cayenne pepper helps with digestion. The pepper helps your salivary glands to produce more saliva, which is needed for digestion. It also stimulates your digestive tract and increases the flow and production of enzymes and gastric juices that your body uses to digest food. This allows your body to metabolize food. Cayenne pepper also aids in relieving intestinal gas.
Researchers at Purdue University found that when you eat cayenne pepper, your core body temperature slightly increases, which helps to burn calories. The research also found that eating 10 grams of cayenne pepper reduced appetite and aided in weight-loss. “The results of the research revealed that those who mixed cayenne pepper with their food burned an additional 10 calories 4 hours after eating their meal compared with those who did not add cayenne.”
The capsaicin in cayenne pepper acts as a natural, powerful decongestant. It helps stimulate your respiratory passages and opens airways, helping to release mucus. Cayenne pepper is often used in home remedies to help with colds and congestion.
The capsaicin also helps in aiding with and preventing headaches such as cluster headaches and migraines. It helps in relieving headaches by stimulating a pain response in a different part of your body, which makes your brain pay more attention to that area. When this happens, the nerve fibers are desensitized and the headache pain is lessened.
Cayenne Pepper Home Remedy
- ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of water
- Mix all of the ingredients together and take by the teaspoon.
How To Use Cayenne Pepper
It is easy to incorporate cayenne pepper into your diet. You can add cayenne pepper to mixtures such as barbecue sauce or curry as well as add it to a marinade to spice it up a bit. You can also add a little bit to meat, pasta, eggs and vegetables.
However, remember that cayenne is spicy, so you should start with a little bit at a time. Start with a ½ teaspoon or so and work your way up, depending on if you are sensitive to spice.
Do you already use cayenne in your cooking? What are your favorite ways to include it into your meals? Please share with us in the comments below!
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Brandi Monasco is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media manager from Texas. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts and has recently found a new love for health and nutrition.
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