Cayenne pepper, also known as hot pepper and red pepper is a part of the capsicum family and is easy to integrate into the diet. It can be added to many of our every day meals including soups and chilli con carne. It blends well with meat and fish dishes, and will add flavour and heat to Italian dishes. Cayenne pepper not only adds spice and flavour to a meal, but it also has many health benefits. Listed below are just some of the benefits that experts say can be gained from eating cayenne pepper.
Recent studies suggest that capsaicin – the compound that makes cayenne pepper hot to the taste, could play a role in helping to treat some cancers. One of the most recent studies showed cayenne pepper plays a role in treating prostate cancer. It has also been shown to inhibit the growth of leukaemia cells with studies also indicating that cayenne pepper could aid the treatment of oral cancer.
Cayenne pepper can be used as a painkiller. The capsaicin present in pepper is thought to reduce the levels of chemical P, the chemical responsible for carrying pain messages to the brain. Cayenne pepper can be brought in the form of a cream or spray and has been found useful for treating nerve pain such as neuropathy or the pain caused by shingles. Cayenne pepper also has anti-inflammatory effects making it an effective treatment for arthritis. It has also been found useful in the treatment of back pain.
It Can Curb the Appetite
In recent years, people have started to use cayenne pepper in the belief it can help them to lose weight and there are many studies that show this might be true. In a study carried out by Purdue University, Indiana, 25 people were given 1g of cayenne pepper a day. The results of the study showed that cayenne pepper can curb the appetite, especially in people who would not normally eat spicy foods. Cayenne pepper was also found to reduce hunger pangs, and increase calories burned.
Cayenne Pepper Can Reduce Blood Pressure and Aid Heart Health
Studies have shown cayenne pepper to be useful in reducing high blood pressure and it is thought to be beneficial in the treatment of circulation problems, atherosclerosis and palpitations.
Cayenne Pepper and Glucose Control
Cayenne pepper has been shown to lower glucose levels so it might be beneficial for patients with diabetes. A study carried out in Thailand showed that patients who took capsicum had significantly lower blood sugar levels than those that didn't.
Precautions and Side Effects
Medication advice should be sought before taking cayenne pepper as a supplement as it should not be taken with some medications. In some cases, Cayenne pepper may also cause digestive problems and skin irritation.
Updated: April 24, 2018 CET