How Cayenne Helps Promote a Healthy Lifestyle
Spicy foods have received a bad rap due to the irritation they cause when consumed. People believe that if it is spicy, it must be bad for your digestive system, but it is actually quite the opposite. Cayenne and its constituent parts actually provide a number of health benefits, including digestive health promotion.
Cayenne Pepper and Cancer
Cayenne is a type of chili pepper. Chili peppers contain a unique antioxidant called capsaicin, which is responsible for their spiciness as well as their health benefits. Capsaicin most promisingly impacts the prevention of lung, breast, gastric, and prostate cancers. (2)
- Capsaicin’s ability to limit cancer comes from its anti-proliferative and apoptotic capacities. Most often, cancer deaths are not caused by the initial site of the cancer, but rather its spread into other regions of the body. This is known as metastasis. Capsaicin helps prevent metastasis by limiting the growth of tumors before they can invade other tissues.
It is important to note that high amounts of spicy foods have negative effects on cancer rates, especially gastric cancers. Limit consumption to less than a teaspoon a few days a week. (3)
Cayenne Pepper and Cardiovascular Disease
- One major factor in heart disease risk is abnormal cholesterol control. Keeping HDL levels high and LDL levels low is important for reducing risk of cardiovascular diseases and events including stroke. HDL cholesterol helps to reduce other cholesterol levels in the blood to prevent formation of arterial plaques. One study showed that capsaicin supplementation increased HDL cholesterol levels. (4)
- Capsaicin also increased activity of eNOS, an enzyme responsible for the secretion of Nitric Oxide into the blood stream. Increased concentrations of nitric oxide relax your blood vessels, allowing blood flow and reducing inflammation and strain of the arterial walls. (5)
Cayenne Pepper and Diabetes
Capsaicin has been shown to improve factors associated with insulin resistance–the precursor to type 2 diabetes. Glucose levels were reduced, while insulin levels were increased upon supplementation of cayenne. (6)
Cayenne Promotes a Number of Health Benefits
Cayenne Pepper and Digestive Health
As with cancer, small levels of cayenne and capsaicin provide the most significant benefits to the digestive system by helping increase digestive fluids and preventing ulcers. (7)
Cayenne Pepper and Weight Loss
Capsaicin increases metabolic activity and induces thermogenesis (the burning of fat) in brown fat cells to reduce total fat concentration, while also improving appetite control. (8)