Cayenne pepper is a powerhouse of capsaicin and belongs to the genus Capsicum. So cayenne pepper is a part of the herb family, boasting of many healthy nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, and its other antioxidant compounds. Being low in both fat and calories, cayenne pepper is a fat-burning herb to cure obesity, weight gain, and diabetes.
You might have heard that cayenne pepper works wonders for digestion in both its natural herb or powdered form. Cayenne pepper, spicy as it may be, works as a natural remedy for stomach pain, ulcers, intestinal gas, and stomach cramps. Cayenne pepper also helps soothe toothache, nausea, malaria, and fever. It offers positive health benefits for arthritis and is an effective remedy for chronic headaches and migraines.
1. Eating Cayenne Pepper Daily Can Curb Your Appetite
If you’re new to cayenne pepper or haven’t used it as a spice before in your meals, you will be pleased to know that adding this spice to your daily meals can help curb your appetite. It reduces strong cravings, burns more calories, and you feel full for a longer time.
Incorporating cayenne pepper into your daily diet, studies suggest, can encourage healthy eating and aid weight management.
The study conducted on the effects of red pepper and weight management showed that half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper can increase body temperature and burn more calories. It was conducted on 25 non-overweight people out of which 13 ate spicy food and the remaining didn’t. (1)
It also showed that people who consumed cayenne pepper on a daily basis had no weight loss effects. So people who are new to this spice might notice a slight change in weight and appetite than those who consume this pepper everyday.
Key Takeaway: The study associated a direct link between consuming cayenne pepper and appetite control in non-overweight people. Daily consumption of cayenne pepper, that is 1/2 a tsp, can help curb cravings and make you feel full for longer.
2. Cayenne Pepper Has Powerful Metabolism-Boosting Properties
This hot chili pepper is added to most dishes to increase spiciness, but there’s another key reason why more and more people are incorporating this spice in their meals.
It’s because cayenne pepper contains good amounts of capsaicin which is an active compound. This compound plays an important role in increasing metabolism and inducing weight loss in both unhealthy and healthy people. (2)
It has a direct effect on thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is responsible for converting cell energy into heat which in-turn increases body temperature and boosts metabolism rate.
Another report studied the positive effects of spiced food on metabolic rate. This study proved that the ingestion of spicy foods, such as cayenne pepper, induces oxygen consumption which has a direct effect on our metabolic rate. (3)
Good amounts of cayenne pepper in a person’s diet activated the digestive system while enhancing the calorie-burning processes in the body. (4)
Key Takeaway: Cayenne pepper is a powerful herb containing capsaicin, which plays a major role in fat-burning and metabolism-boosting. Once digested, cayenne pepper activates certain cell processes that help induce a faster metabolic rate for better digestion and weight management.
3. Capsaicin Present In Cayenne Pepper Suppresses Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the formation of cancer cells in cellular membranes of the breasts. It is very common in women than it is in men. People with breast cancer often go through chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or surgery for an effective treatment.
That said, new research has shed light on the positive anti-cancer properties of cayenne pepper on breast cancer. This study focused on cayenne pepper’s capsaicin that helps destroy breast cancer cells effectively.
With chemotherapy the only effective treatment for breast cancer, a study was conducted on mice to check for any changes in tumors as a method of cancer treatment.
Capsaicin activates a certain type of receptor in the body, it is the Transient Receptor Potential Channels or TRPV1. This receptor helps healthy cells survive for longer by slowly killing cancer cells in breast tumors. Treating capsaicin compound with this receptor can reduce the proliferation of tumors in the body while killing of cancer cells faster. (5)
Key Takeaway: The capsaicin in cayenne pepper helps boost healthy cell proliferation which built up a resisting environment for cancer cells and tumors. It has a positive effect on breast tumors in both men and women.
4. Cayenne Pepper Is Good For The Liver
Interestingly, cayenne pepper may reduce liver damage, inducing better digestion. A new study conducted on the liver-enhancing effects of cayenne pepper showed that the active compound present in cayenne pepper, capsaicin alleviates liver damage.
Consumption of capsaicin-activated a special compound called hepatic stellate cells which are present in huge amounts in the liver. This group of cells helps improve scar tissue response caused by liver damage.
Capsaicin reduces the inflammatory and oxidative damage caused by the liver which affects liver fibrosis. That’s when these group of cells, hepatic stellate cells, get activated. (6)
Another study reviewed the powerful anti-inflammatory and oxidative capacity of capsaicin on liver health. It proved the capsaicin plays a major role in lowering chances of metabolic diseases including liver disease. This also includes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The phytochemicals present in cayenne pepper activate and increase the count of antioxidant enzymes in the body. (7)
Key Takeaway: Multiple studies showed that increasing cayenne pepper consumption for its powerful capsaicin content has positive liver-enhancing benefits. It cuts the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, stroke, and other factors affecting the liver.
5. Eating Cayenne Pepper Can Reduce Sensations Of Pain
You can trick your brain into feeling no pain. It seems impossible, but it can happen with the right kind of foods. Cayenne pepper, on the one hand, can alleviate pain by increasing burning sensations.
When you consume cayenne pepper, it increases heat in your body which causes a burning sensation. This burning sensation is considered to, ironically, reduce pain in humans. (8)
When consumed, cayenne pepper’s capsaicin activates the TRPV1 receptors in the nerves and cells. And continued exposure to this pepper cause the pain nerve cells to get exhausted, ultimately causing no pain. This is because the pain nerve cells deplete all their chemical stores when activated for a long time.
When cayenne pepper extracts are applied to the skin, it induces another set of cells called PIP2 in the cell membrane. These cells release calcium in the bloodstream which causes loss of sensitivity in the skin cell membranes. (9)
Key Takeaway: The capsaicin in cayenne pepper may help induce pain relief when applied to the skin. It induces better chemical depletion in the pain nerve cells which drastically reduces sensitivity to pain.
6. Cayenne Pepper Is A Good Source Of Vitamin E
Vitamin-E rich foods, such as cayenne pepper, aid various body processes such as the heart, respiratory system, blood pressure, and skin. (10)
Many studies show that vitamin E deficiency in the body can induce variety of chronic and inflammatory-induced diseases. A daily intake of 4 mg vitamin E (for women) and 3 mg vitamin E (for men) can help curb vitamin E deficiency. (11)
Vitamin E helps balance high LDL cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. Especially for people affected with lifestyle-related factors such as smoking, high-fat diets, and lack of exercise. It does this by reducing free radical induced damage in the blood cells which act as an antioxidant to help fight high cholesterol levels.
It also shows that vitamin E is good for preventing age-related disease development in the skin, bones, and immune system. It helps increase immunity in older adults. The vitamin E extract chilli peppers, such as cayenne pepper, acts as a powerful antioxidant for DNA repair and muscle cell respiration. (12)
Key Takeaway: Daily consumption of cayenne pepper can reduce vitamin E deficiency in children, adults, and older adults. Multiple studies reported that vitamin E is good for the heart, respiratory system, and fights free radicals to enhance antioxidant capacity in the body.
7. The Anti-Inflammatory Effects Of Cayenne Pepper Can Reduce Congestion
Nasal congestion is common in people with allergies and other environmental-sensitivities. If left untreated, it can cause headaches, nausea, facial pain, and even a sore throat. This type of congestion can be treated with a nasal spray rich in capsaicin, that is present in cayenne pepper.
You can even take capsaicin orally with the help of cayenne pepper to reduce effects of congestion in the nasal area. It helps clear up any sinus infection, cold, and allergic reaction. (13)
It also showed that a single teaspoon of cayenne with hot water can help dilate blood vessels. This also helps drain out sinuses more effectively than other traditional methods.
Not to mention, the release of cayenne pepper in the body can also help release the nasal passage of liquids that otherwise don’t come out quickly. But it’s important to remember, too much of anything can have its side-effects. Too much of cayenne pepper exposure to the nasal region may cause skin irritation or nose burning.
Key Takeaway: The anti-inflammatory properties of cayenne pepper has its positive effect on reducing nasal congestion and sinus infections.
8. The Powerful Nutrients Present In Cayenne Pepper Can Cure Migraines
Migraine is a major health concern worldwide. But you might be able to reduce the severe effects of migraines with the help of cayenne pepper.
Cayenne pepper and its powerful nutrients such as vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and of course capsaicin signal for protection against chronic headaches and migraines.
One study showed that a higher consumption of spicy foods can significantly decrease the endurance of headaches and migraines. People with frequent headache attacks has a lower consumption of spicy foods rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.
Ths randomised study proved that an increase in cayenne pepper consumption can trigger brain cells to fight against the inflammation that leads to a migraine attack. (16)
Key Takeaway: Multiple studies suggest that cayenne pepper, due to its high anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capacity, is able to suppress migraine and headache attacks.
9. Cayenne Pepper Can Help Lower Blood Pressure
Cayenne pepper has very powerful blood pressure-lowering properties when digested. Cayenne pepper, like most other chilli peppers, contain high amounts of capsaicin. This active ingredient helps relax blood vessels and tissues to reduce hypertension.
A study conducted on hypertensive rats showed that a long-term consumption of capsaicin through spicy foods such as cayenne pepper can lower blood pressure better than other traditional methods.
It helps in the activation of TRPV1 which increased nitric oxide production to protect blood vessel from chronic inflammation. (17)
This same study also suggested that people who don’t like spicy food are greatly affected by its hypertension-reducing properties.
One study showed that consuming cayenne pepper creates a positive energy balance in the body to lower blood pressure and promote fat metabolism in the body. (18)
Any kind of energy imbalance in the body can cause serious health concerns including obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, and heart diseases. Hence, consuming sufficient amounts of cayenne pepper can be beneficial for normal energy expenditure.
Key Takeaway: Multiple studies have found that cayenne pepper does stimulate normal blood pressure levels. It inhibits hypertension by balancing energy levels, lowering inflammation in the blood vessels, and promoting proper artery flow.
10. A Sufficient Cayenne Pepper Diet Can Decrease Inflammation
Cayenne pepper contains many antioxidants such as vitamins and capsaicin that have anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it very effective in easing inflammation-induced infections, diseases, and symptoms.
Inflammation in the human body can cause cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and many types of metabolic diseases. A specific study conducted on inflammation-induced obesity showed that proinflammatory diseases including diabetes and atherosclerosis have a direct influence on the liver, pancreas, and muscle cells. (19)
The solution to all this is an increased consumption of cayenne pepper for its capsaicin compounds. The study that targets the effects of this active ingredient showed that the action of capsaicin reduces oxidant enzyme levels in the body. It doesn’t eliminate the oxidative capacity, but limits it to healthy levels. (20)
Key Takeaway: Hence, it can be believed that cayenne pepper is a promising agent to suppress proinflammatory diseases and abnormalities in the human body.
11. Cayenne Pepper Acts As An Anti-Irritant To Curb Gastric Ulcers
Cayenne pepper encourages the inhibition of acid secretion in the body, contrary to popular beliefs. It stimulates mucosal blood flow in the body to help heal inflammatory stomach ulcers and bacteria.
Helicobacter Pylori is a common bacteria that causes different types of infections in the stomach. This has also been one of the leading causes of gastric ulcers in humans. Capsaicin is a leading inhibitor of ulcer formation than a participant. It helps prevent and heal gastric ulcers by initiating a healthy gastric mucosal blood flow level in the body. (21)
Another study proved that capsaicin promotes a healthy gut by suppressing harmful cell proliferation in the body. This also plays a factor in lowering chances of developing colorectal tumors. (22)
Key Takeaway: Scientists discovered that cayenne pepper has a direct positive effect on suppressing acid secretion and inflammatory blood cells that cause gastric ulcers and colorectal tumors in the body.
12. Cayenne Peppers Are Rich With Vitamins With Skin-Enhancing Properties
New studies suggest that cayenne pepper plays a major role protecting skin from aging, wrinkles, acne, and other skin abnormalities. Cayenne peppers is packed with healthy vitamins such as A, B6, and C. These vitamins work together to prevent skin infections and diseases.
One study showed that vitamin A when treated aged skin, skin ulcer formation, and help accelerate the healing process of skin injuries. (23)
Another study proved that vitamin A has a direct influence on skin exposed to UV radiation and harmful chemicals in the environment. Chronic sun exposure can cause cancer, heat boils, dehydrated skin, and other symptoms. Vitamin A promotes better nutrient absorption in the skin cells that blanket the skin cells from excessive sun exposure and UV radiation. (24)
The role of vitamin C on skin health encourages better regeneration and protect the skin against genetic and environmental factors. (25)
Extreme sun exposure can cause DNA damage caused by oxidative stress and inflammation. The skin cells, being the most sensitive to this reaction, deplete in large numbers causing cancer, skin disease, and pigmentation.
Another nutrient present in cayenne pepper, that is vitamin B6, has protective effects for skin health. It reduces skin sensitivity by inhibiting the severe effects of testosterone in the DNA. This is one of the leading causes of acne in young adults. (26)
Key Takeaway: Cayenne pepper is a good source of vitamin C, A, and B6. They help in the prevention of skin injuries and infections. Also, they accelerate skin healing by providing plenty of antioxidants to the skin cells.
13. Cayenne Pepper Has Anti-Fungal Properties
The many benefit of cayenne pepper also includes its powerful anti-fungal properties. It supports the immune system with the help of CAY-1 which is naturally occurring enzyme found in cayenne pepper.
This compound, once digested in the system, affects cell cytotoxicity. It disrupts the cell toxicity levels in the membrane by reducing the number of fungal and infections-inducing cells in the body. (27)
Cayenne pepper must be a part of your anti-fungal diet because it boosts your immune system to destroy fungal cells faster. It even restricts the proliferation of toxic fungal pathogens against 16 fungal strains found in the body.
This prevents the development of candida, digestive diseases, hormonal imbalance, and much more. It even inhibits the formation of different types of yeast in the body. (28)
Key Takeaway: Cayenne pepper suppresses the growth of 16 types of fungus in the body including candida. It has anti-fungal compounds such as capsaicin and CAY-1 that kill fungal cells in the bloodstream caused by genetic factors.
14. Cayenne Pepper Is Low-Carb Which Is Good For Diabetes Prevention
Diabetes is a very common and severe health concern affecting many people worldwide. That said, factors such as healthy eating and physical exercise can keep you away from this diabetes.
One of the most effective remedies of diabetes, as well as its prevention, is a low-carb diet. Since cayenne pepper contains very little calories and fats, it’s a good source of antioxidants to do away with abnormal insulin and blood sugar levels.
According to a recent study, a low-carb diet is essential for both diabetes prevention and management. This study show a 2.2% reduction in glycated haemoglobin levels with a low-carb diet. The long-term effects of eating low-carb foods such as cayenne pepper are also associated with reducing the psychological stress that tags along with diabetes. (29)
Key Takeaway: People suffering from diabetes have abnormal blood sugar and insulin levels. This also invites psychological stress which has a direct influence of dietary intake. All these symptoms can be treated with a low-carb diet including cayenne pepper.
15. Capsaicin Present In Cayenne Pepper Treats Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a severe skin condition that is characterized by rapidly growing skin cells. This causes swelling and white coloration of the skin. The main agent of psoriasis is increased inflammation and scaling of the skin cells.
The symptoms of this disease include dandruff, discolored skin, patchy and swollen skin, skin lesions, and painful bleeding of the nails.
To prevent the development of psoriasis or heal the severe symptoms of it, a regular diet of cayenne pepper is essential. A continued supplementation of capsaicin on moderate to severe cases of psoriasis showed a positive improvement in redness of skin, itching, and white patches. (30)
To overcome psoriasis, a daily diet focusing on capsaicin found in cayenne pepper is very essential. It helps in the healing process as well as lowers your chances of developing this chronic skin disease.
Key Takeaway: Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease of the skin caused due to a poor diet, vitamin deficiency, and other factors. Capsaicin present in cayenne pepper can be a promising agent in the prevention and treatment of this skin disease.
5 Amazing Dishes With Cayenne Pepper
It’s like magic; the taste and flavor of cayenne pepper. Even a tiny amount of cayenne pepper has the ability to transform all kinds of dishes. And the options are endless. You can use cayenne pepper to spruce up morning eggs. And you can even add cayenne pepper if you want to spice up your favorite chocolate dessert. The best part about it is that you don’t need too much of it. Just a pinch of cayenne pepper can take your dish from boring or simple to hot and super hot!
What you see below are 5 recipes that show you how you can use cayenne pepper in different ways. So do you think you can handle the spice?
1. Honey and Sesame Fish Tacos
Tacos are better when they offer a spicy and sweet punch. This means a combination of honey and cayenne pepper.
1 tsp - molasses
2 tbsp - soy sauce
1/4 tsp - garlic powder
4 tbsp - honey
2 tbsp - sesame oil
1/4 tsp - chilli powder
1/4 tsp - red cayenne pepper
7 oz - greek yogurt
8 oz - Mexican cheese, shredded
1/4 shredded red cabbage
12 oz - cod
The first step is to combine all the sauce ingredients. You can use a pan for this. Place it over medium heat and make sure that you pour the sesame oil on top of the cayenne pepper.
Now it’s time to add the thawed fish.
Cook the dish for at least 15 minutes. Once the fish turns white, you know it’s done. This is when you chop the fish so that it’s covered in sauce completely.
Then take a small sized bowl to bring together lime juice and greek yogurt.
And that’s about it. You can now place the cooked fish with tortillas, cheese, red cabbage, and let’s not forget, the yogurt sauce.
2. Cayenne Pepper Truffles
Chocolate with cayenne pepper can be a delicious aphrodisiac to spice up anyone’s love life. And they come in the form little truffles.
1/4 cup of cocoa powder (unsweetened)
5 cayenne peppers
8 oz of bittersweet or dark chocolate
1/2 cup of heavy cream
Add cream and crushed cayenne pepper in a saucepan. Heat the mixture until it starts to simmer. Then reduce the heat and let the thing steep for at least 15 minutes.
In the meantime, cut up the chocolate into tiny pieces. There are two ways to go about this. Chop up the chocolate using the knife or place the chopped chocolate in a blender or food processor until it gets crushed into fine pieces. But don’t forget to cover the opening to prevent chocolate dust from flying everywhere. Then transfer the chocolate into another bowl.
You can re-heat the cayenne pepper cream paste before straining it into the bowlful of chocolate. Let that rest for 5 minutes, then stir the mixture until it turns glossy and smooth. If needed, you can melt the chocolate further in your microwave for not more than 15 seconds.
Cover the dish with a plastic wrap before placing it in the fridge. Let it cool in there for half an hour.
Now it’s time to scoop up the truffles from the chocolate. Roll these truffles using your palms. The goal is to make them into smooth balls.
Following which you can roll them in cocoa powder for a nice, thick coating. And then place them all in the fridge once again.
And there you go! All you need to do now is heat them slightly before serving.
3. Peppered Shrimp in Alfredo Sauce
You know what’s easy to prepare? Delicious shrimp tossed in Alfredo sauce and topped with cayenne pepper and mushrooms.
1 bell pepper, diced
1 tsp of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup of chopped parsley
2 tbsp of olive oil, extra virgin
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of butter
1/2 cup of Romano cheese, grated
1/2 pound of diced mushrooms
1/2 cup of cream
Salt and pepper
1 diced onion
1 pound of shrimp, peeled as well as deveined
1 jar of Alfredo sauce
12 ounces of penne pasta
Boil salted water in a large sized pot. Add penne pasta to this and cook the whole thing for 10 minutes. Then drain all the water.
In the meantime, melt the butter with olive oil on a saucepan on medium flame. Bring in the onion and cook it until it turns translucent and soft. Then add mushroom, red pepper, and garlic. Let this cook for another 2 minutes.
Now it’s time to add shrimp. Cook the shrimp until it becomes pink and firm. Once that happens, pour the Alfredo sauce, cream, and Romano cheese. Soon the dish will start to simmer. But make sure that you keep stirring it to thicken the paste. This process should not take more than 5 minutes.
At the end of which you can add all the seasoning, including cayenne pepper.
Now, all you have to do is stir pasta into the mix and serve the dish with the chopped parsley.
4. Caribbean Spice Roast Chicken
The tropical flavors of the dish get heightened with cayenne pepper to make the chicken look more sumptuous and taste even more delicious.
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of ground clove
1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp of ground ginger
1 tbsp of brown sugar
1-1/2 tbsp of lime juice, fresh
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
1 whole chicken
2 ounces of rum
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp of thyme leaves, dried
1 tsp of black pepper
Preheat your microwave to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bring together rum, brown sugar, and lime juice in a small sized bowl. Then keep it aside.
Next ingredients to add are thyme leaves, salt, pepper, ginger, cinnamon, clove, and cayenne pepper. After that, brush the whole chicken using oil before coating it with the mixture.
Then place the chicken in a pan and bake the thing for 90 minutes. During this time, the juices will start to flow. You need to make it a point to baste this chicken with sauce every 15-20 minutes during the cooking process.
Once done, let it cool for not more than 10 minutes before you carve it for serving.
5. Peppered Poached Egg Hash Brown
When you can use smoked salmon as well as potatoes leftovers to cook up a quick and yummy festive brunch with a dash of cayenne pepper.
For the sauce:
1 tbsp of wholegrain mustard
2 eggs, only yolk
A bay leaf
110g of clarified, warmed butter
A sprig tarragon
A pinch of cayenne pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
50ml of vinegar, white wine
For the hash brown:
2 tbsp of chopped dill
400g of salmon fillet, cooked
150g of creme fraiche
75g of unsalted butter
150g of smoked salmon, cut into pieces
1kg of partially mashed potato, cooked
For poached eggs:
1 tbsp of vinegar, white wine
First we prepare the sauce. For that, heat the bay leaf, peppercorns, and tarragon with vinegar and 50 ml of water. Cook this until the quantity of the liquid reduces considerably. Then strain it using the sieve.
Then bring together the yolks and liquid in your blender or food processor. During the blending process, add butter until you achieve a smooth texture. Then add cayenne pepper, mustard, and lemon juice. After blending, set it aside.
Now it’s time to prepare the hash brown. Combine salmon, potato, smoked salmon, dill, and creme fraiche in a big bowl. Mix the ingredients together. Then heat a pan before adding butter.
Use any metal ring to shape up every hash brown that you place on the pan. Cook them for at least 3 minutes on both the sides. Once they turn crisp and golden brown, you know they’re done.
The next step is to make poached eggs. Boil salted water on a pan before adding vinegar. Then whisk the liquid well enough. Once the whirlpool settles, it’s time to crack one egg in. Simmer this for 3 minutes. Then use the slotted spoon to remove the egg. You can repeat this process for all the other eggs.
Time to serve the whole dish. Top the hash brown with eggs and sauce, and dive right into the yolks for that first morning bite.
Wrapping It Up
With so many health benefits to look forward to, cayenne pepper is recommended to everyone living an active and healthy lifestyle. It’s not enough to drink lots of water and exercise, including certain superfoods and herbs in the diet are also equally essential.
That said, natural treatment of any condition should be taken into consideration along with conventional treatments including medicines and herbal supplementations. Nutrients play an important role in the stimulation of healthy cells while strengthening the immune system against chronic diseases. You can reduce anxiety, digestive problems, and inflammation with a regular cayenne pepper diet.
So by the looks of it, I think you’re ready to incorporate cayenne pepper in nutritious ways for a complete nourished and healthy body.
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.