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Cayenne Pepper: Little-Known Health Benefits of This Chili

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Do you douse your food with Tabasco or Sriracha Hot Sauce? Do you eat jalapeños with the seeds intact? Spicy food lovers have reason to rejoice. They can get more health benefits by adding an ingredient they would probably add anyways just for the flavor.

We are talking about cayenne peppers. Not only is this chili flamingly delicious, but it will also boost your health and especially your digestive tracts.


The Origins of Cayenne Pepper

The cayenne red pepper (also known as capsicum), originated in South America and has been cultivated since prehistoric times. It should be noted that the pepper is actually a fruit and not a vegetable. It’s a non-sweet fruit much like tomatoes, pumpkins, and avocados.

The pepper’s use by indigenous tribes as a medicinal herb can be traced back 9,000 years. It later spread to European countries after Christopher Columbus brought it and a few other spices back from his journey to the Americas.

In the 1600s, the cayenne paper was a staple medicine for treating skin and throat infections. By the 1800s, doctors prescribed it for treating depression, toothaches, fever, and rheumatoid arthritis.

By the 1940s, the United States Dispensary recognized capsicum for its ability to help the stomach maintain its natural heat. Users described the sensation of a general bodily “glow” upon ingestion.

Cayenne Pepper Improves Digestion

There is a widespread belief that all spicy foods lead to heartburn, upset stomach, and gas. People are also under the impression that because peppers are hot that it makes the stomach more acidic. The opposite is true. Cayenne peppers actually restore stomach pH by creating a more alkaline environment. Studies also show that capsicum holds enormous potential for promoting metabolic and gastrointestinal health.

This ultimately helps with digestion and circulation. The pepper increases gastric juices and digestive enzymes, all necessary for food metabolization, breakdown of toxins, and system cleanse. In addition, the spice has also been known to alleviate diarrhea. The combination of cayenne pepper and cinnamon is an old Brazilian folk medicine for tightening the bowels. It’s also a longtime herbal remedy for treating menstrual cramps.

For optimal digestive support, we recommend more pepper consumption along with probiotic-rich foods or a probiotic supplement.

Cayenne Pepper Produces Saliva

The very thought of saliva seems disgusting to some people. However, saliva plays a huge role in the digestion and food breakdown process. Have you ever noticed the saliva in your mouth thickening after eating a hot pepper? The saliva acts as a buffer to protect your tongue and mouth from the burning texture. Cayenne peppers stimulate the salivary glands, which in turn also kickstarts the digestive process.

Saliva is also mega-important for oral health. Dry mouth creates the optimal breeding ground for bacteria and plaque buildup. It also leads to foul breath.

Studies have also confirmed that saliva plays a role in teeth remineralization and diluting the sugars that bacteria feed off of. The excretion is a form of buffer from dental caries.

In essence, your body needs saliva for all sorts of processes, and cayenne peppers help your glands create more.

Cayenne Pepper Improves Testosterone Levels

Aside from whey protein and creatine powder, you may also want to consider carrying a bottle of Sriracha Hot Sauce in your gym bag. A study revealed that chili pepper has potent properties as a testosterone enhancer. The research showed that pepper consumption led to enhanced testicular cell proliferation, which directly affects androgen production.

Cayenne peppers also dilate blood vessels, improve blood pressure, and increase blood flow to the major organs. This includes your genitals. Enhanced circulation in your man organs naturally means better libido and sex drive.

Cayenne Pepper Helps You Lose Weight

Cayenne peppers increase body thermogenesis by stimulating metabolism of fatty acids in the adipose tissue. In layman’s terms, heat production increases in the fat cells, thereby ramping up fat burn and thus, weight loss. In a 2003 Thai study, subjects that consumed peppers saw a 7% to 17% thermogenesis increase, which lasted for 30-minutes after ingestion.

Aside from weight loss, cayenne peppers also contain a compound known as dihydrocapsiate. Studies show that subjects who took this substance for one month burned roughly an additional 50-calories per day.

How to Increase Pepper Intake

If you love spicy foods, then this won’t be hard at all. Fortunately, cayenne peppers aren’t some obscure or hard-to-find fruit. It’s readily available at your local grocery, and it’s very inexpensive as well. You can consume as is or crush the pepper into fine powder. The food applications for cayenne peppers are practically endless. Consume with your steak or salmon fillet. Heck, you can even sprinkle some crushed cayenne powder on your morning cereal.

If your stomach simply doesn’t have tolerance for spicy foods, then you can always consume chili powder in capsule form. We actually included cayenne peppers as a primary ingredient in our new Digestive Refresh Supplement. This way, you can reap all the health benefits of cayenne pepper without scorching your tongue.

Up Your Digestion Prowess the Natural Way

We hope this article makes your day if you’re a spice fanatic. The cayenne pepper has much to offer in health and taste, so include it in your diet and make it a daily staple.



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Ryan Tronier

Ryan Tronier is a writer and editor who has worked with NBC, ABC, and USA Today.
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