food health wellness

Some Like It Hot: Benefits of Hot Peppers

Are you a fan of spicy food?  I am!  I’ve loved hot stuff since I was a kid, to the complete horror of my parents, who like only the blandest foods.  Turns out, I was on to something.  Hot peppers, like cayenne, have quite a few benefits to our health.  Integrating this spice into your food is ideal, but if you just can’t get past the flavor, there are capsules available.  Experiment though, and see if any of your favorite dishes could benefit from a little extra heat.

What I love most about cayenne pepper is its powerful anti-inflammatory effects.  When digested, it helps soothe any internal irritation, and notably reduces any swelling or pain in the body.  If you have shopped for any creams or ointments to reduce muscle and joint pain, the most popular (and most effective) ones use cayenne pepper as a main ingredient.  It’s also an amazing alternative to pharmaceuticals for relief of headaches and migraines, and will even severely reduce the intensity of monthly cramps.

All these benefits are directly tied to capsaicin, the substance in peppers that make them hot.  So, the hotter the pepper, the more benefits there are!  That’s not all that’s in hot peppers that make them great for you.  They’re loaded with vitamins E, A, and K, which we tend to not get enough of anyway.  You’ll also be getting some potassium, which helps to balance out the sodium in our diets.

Many people complain that spicy foods cause stomach discomfort.  Taking a critical look at this idea however, shows that the peppers are stimulating the digestive system to work better.  It’s extremely common to believe that you have too much stomach acid, when in fact you have too little.  The burning sensation you feel after eating is often irritation from gasses and undigested food sitting in your stomach.  Cayenne pepper will help regulate the amount of acid in the stomach, which can cause discomfort for a short time.  It also stimulates proper enzyme production, so we can better absorb the nutrients in our food.

So have a bit of a food adventure!  Start with a pinch here and there, and you’ll start seeing benefits (and trying new recipes) in no time!

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