Health & Wellness

Cayenne Pepper: 6 Health Benefits & 6 Recipes to Try!

Cayenne pepper is having a bit of a moment—largely thanks to its natural health benefits. From boosting your metabolism to supporting digestion to helping to clear mucus, it’s one powerful pepper!

Plus, there’s nothing better than adding a spicy kick to give your favorite dish a little extra oomph!

 

All About Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is a kind of chili pepper that can reach 5 inches in length, and it’s a good source of vitamins A, B6, C, and K. Most cayenne peppers are green or red, and they are common in a lot of different cuisines.

In fact, you’ve probably seen it in a shaker at your favorite restaurant or pizzeria—crushed red pepper is usually made from cayenne peppers!

You can find cayenne pepper in many different forms. Powdered cayenne, crushed red pepper, and fresh cayenne peppers are all available among the aisles of your favorite grocery store. Each can be used to spice up your food while you’re cooking, or in place of salt to add extra flavor.

Most cayenne peppers range between 30,000 and 50,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), which measure how much sugar water you need to neutralize the heat in a pepper. The mildest peppers rank in at 0 SHU, while the hottest peppers can top 3 million SHU.

To put it in perspective, the hottest cayenne peppers are 25 times hotter than the hottest Poblano peppers! But did you know that there are different kinds of cayenne peppers?

Yup! Carolina Cayenne, Cayenne Buist’s Yellow, Danger Pod, and Golden Cayenne are just a few of them. They come in a variety of colors, including green, red, yellow, orange, and even purple.

Danger Pod and Golden Cayenne peppers fall within the typical SHU range for cayenne peppers, but Cayenne Buist’s Yellow and Carolina Cayenne are a different story.

Cayenne Buist’s Yellow peppers are relatively mild, reaching a mere 1,000 SHU, while Carolina Cayenne peppers top 100,000 SHU. So, you can get the health benefits of cayenne peppers without feeling the burn, if you prefer.

What is Capsaicin?

Have you ever wondered why peppers are spicy? They contain a substance called capsaicin, which is responsible for that burn you feel when you’re noshing on your favorite spicy foods.

Capsaicin does so much more than make your mouth burn. There are many benefits of capsaicin that doctors use in medicine today. There are capsaicin creams, sprays, ointments, and patches to treat a wide variety of aches and pains. It is the primary ingredient in cayenne pepper that is responsible for many of its health benefits.

 

Top 6 Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper

If you love spicy food, you’ll be delighted to learn how cayenne pepper can benefit your health. It contains many nutrients that can help relieve pain, boost your metabolism, and much more! Here are the top six ways cayenne pepper can improve your health.

1. Aids detoxification

Your liver is responsible for most of the detoxification processes in your body. It removes toxins from your bloodstream to prevent them from building up and making you ill.

There’s evidence that cayenne pepper aids in this by way of your circulatory system. Cayenne peppers contain capsicum and capsaicin, like many other chili peppers. Both of these ingredients stimulate the production of nitric oxide in your body. [1]

Nitric oxide is a vasodilator that relaxes your blood vessels and increases blood flow throughout your body. This increase in blood flow may speed up the rate at which your liver detoxifies your blood.

There are many different approaches to using cayenne pepper to detox. An easy and affordable way to get the detox benefits of cayenne pepper is to use my Lemon Ginger Cayenne Detox Shot recipe. You can make it using ingredients that you probably have lying around your house!

And if you’re looking for additional help with detoxification, make. sure to check out my 7-day detox!

2. Supports digestion

Cayenne peppers support your digestive system in a variety of ways. Most immediately, it increases saliva production while you’re eating it. [2]

There are enzymes in your saliva that start to break down your food before you even swallow it. Increasing your saliva production by eating cayenne pepper helps make your digestive system more efficient.

One experiment studied the effects of natural capsicum extract on weaned pigs’ digestive systems. The group of pigs that received natural capsicum extract had better digestive enzyme activities than the control group. As a result, they digested their food more easily and gained weight more quickly. [3]

If you’re having trouble digesting your food, eating cayenne pepper may help give your digestive system a little pick-me-up.

3. Helps relieve headaches

The capsaicin in cayenne peppers is a natural pain reliever. This is due to its ability to increase blood flow in your body. While it’s an effective treatment, it can also be uncomfortable at first because of the burning sensation it causes. [4]

Most of the research for capsaicin to treat headaches has been done with people who suffer from cluster headaches. When it’s applied to the inside of your nose, it can prevent these debilitating headaches. [5, 6]

If you suffer from severe headaches, you may want to discuss eating more cayenne pepper or using a capsaicin spray with your doctor!

4. Aids in clearing mucus

Being congested is one of the most irritating feelings in the world, so it’s no wonder people seek out a variety of treatments to relieve it. The capsaicin in cayenne peppers can also help with this!

Allergies and viruses can cause congestion. There are nasal sprays with capsaicin that you can use when you have a cold. If you use it appropriately, a capsaicin nasal spray can relieve your symptoms quickly. [7]

There are also people who suffer from congestion with no known cause. This is known as idiopathic rhinitis. A clinical trial studied the effects of different doses of capsaicin nasal spray on people with this condition.

There were four groups. The control group didn’t receive any capsaicin, while groups A, B, and C received 1mcg, 2mcg, and 4 mcg of capsaicin, respectively. [8]

Group C, which received the highest dose, achieved the highest symptom relief of the four groups, proving that the capsaicin in cayenne pepper is a great treatment for a stuffy nose!

5. Shown to help lengthen lifespan

They say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but what if I told you fruits and veggies everyday keep diseases away?

That’s right! One study found that eating five servings of fruits and vegetables (including cayenne peppers!) everyday reduces your risk of heart disease, cancer, and lung diseases. [9]

But that’s not the whole story, because another study found that specific nutrients like vitamin C and carotenoids reduce your risk of death for all causes. [10]

And do you know what’s a good source of vitamin C aside from orange juice? You guessed it: cayenne pepper!

The daily recommended value of vitamin C is 90 mg, and one tablespoon of cayenne pepper contains 4 mg. Adding it to your food is a good way to put a little extra vitamin C in your body.

6. Boosts metabolism

If you’re trying to lose weight, cayenne pepper may be able to help you out. When you eat it, it can increase your metabolism.

Scientists reached this finding during a study in Thailand in which women were given 5 grams of fresh chili pepper, like cayenne pepper. After they ate it, the women experienced an immediate increase in their metabolism that lasted up to 30 minutes. [11]

You may be wondering how cayenne peppers can do this. The boost in your metabolism is due to a capsinoid in cayenne peppers called dihydrocapsiate.

Another study measured the effects of this capsinoid on the metabolism of 78 people who received varying doses of it over the course of 28 days.

At the end of the study, the people who received dihydrocapsiate burned about 50 more calories each day than people in the control group regardless of the dose. [12]

So, if you’re looking for a little extra help boosting your metabolism, cayenne pepper is a natural way to get it!

 

Cayenne benefits - Dr. Pingel

 

Side Effects of Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne peppers are safe to eat in a lot of different forms, including cayenne powder, crushed red pepper, or even raw if you really like them! And like other spicy foods, there can be some negative side effects.

The most frequent side effect is a burning sensation due to the capsaicin in cayenne peppers. Eating them causes a spicy taste and feel, but if you accidentally get it in your nose or your eye, the burning can become particularly uncomfortable

When you’re cooking or eating something with cayenne pepper, be sure to wash your hands before wiping your eyes or nose to avoid that unpleasant experience.

If you’re using a capsaicin cream or spray, be prepared for that initial burning sensation if you aren’t used to it yet. After you use it several times, the burning feeling should get better.

Some people can also experience other symptoms when they eat cayenne peppers. Reflux and upset stomach are common side effects you should also look out for.

 

6 Delicious Recipes That Include Cayenne

If you’re wondering how you can add more cayenne pepper to your diet, look no further. There are so many delicious recipes that include cayenne peppers! Here are some you may enjoy.

All of these recipes have great reviews. You’re sure to find something you and your family will love!

Key Takeaways

  • Cayenne peppers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most of them are pretty spicy, but there are some milder kinds if you prefer foods that aren’t as spicy.
  • Incorporating more cayenne into your diet is easy since it comes in so many forms. There are also tons of recipes that you can try out.
  • The capsaicin in cayenne pepper is responsible for a lot of its health benefits. Use cayenne peppers to treat muscle aches and pains, stuffy noses, and prevent headaches. Other ingredients in capsaicin can help you boost your metabolism and even live a long, full life!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.