Cayenne Pepper is a Health Food Wonder


Image via Chris Potako

Cayenne peppers (Capsicum annuum, C. frutescens) have long been valued for their culinary contributions and their medicinal traits, both of which are associated with its key ingredient, capsaicin. When food and healing factors have an opportunity to work together, the results can be satisfying on several levels!

But we’re here to discuss cayenne pepper as a healthy food. A search of the Internet for health benefits of cayenne pepper unleashes a wealth of claims, but many of them are based on anecdotal evidence or the rubberband effect; that is, stretching research findings in animal models to fit humans, at least until adequate human studies are performed. So here are some of the things we know and are still learning about cayenne pepper as a healthy food:

1. Heart Benefits: In experimental models of hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), capsaicin has been shown to effectively reduce cholesterol in doses that are comparable to those taken by people. This cayenne ingredient lowers cholesterol by enhancing the conversion of cholesterol to bile acids and activating a specific enzyme. Use of capsaicin also can prevent the accumulation of fatty substances called triglycerides, which are associated with heart disease and diabetes.

Research has shown that capsaicin blocks the activity of a gene that makes your arteries constrict, and in turn that improves blood flow. This “hottie” also helps escort bad cholesterol out of your arteries but does not affect levels of good cholesterol.

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By Deborah Mitchell| October 30, 2015
Categories:  Eat

About the Author

Deborah Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell

Deborah is a freelance health writer who is passionate about animals and the environment. She has authored, co-authored, and written more than 50 books and thousands of articles on a wide range of topics. Currently she lives in Tucson, Arizona. Visit her at deborahmitchellbooks.com.



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