The health benefits of cayenne pepper, also known as mirchi, include weight loss, good digestion, strong immunity, good blood circulation. Additionally, it may provide relief from heart diseases, dyspepsia, inflammation, headaches, and throat congestion.
What is Cayenne Pepper?
Cayenne pepper belongs to the Capsicum family and its botanical name is Capsicum annuum. It is the red or green chili pepper that is used to add spicy flavor to foods throughout the world. Cayenne contains vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin K, carotenoids, and vitamin B complex. It is also a source of calcium, potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber.
Cayenne pepper is an integral part of many recipes in India. This herb, which came to India in the 16th century, has become so popular that many people in the villages eat bhakri (bread made of cereals) with a paste of cayenne pepper. Though this is not good for long-term health, it is a staple food for many people in rural India.
|Serving Size :|
|Total lipid (fat) [g]||17.27|
|Carbohydrate, by difference [g]||56.63|
|Fiber, total dietary [g]||27.2|
|Sugars, total including NLEA [g]||10.34|
|Calcium, Ca [mg]||148|
|Iron, Fe [mg]||7.8|
|Magnesium, Mg [mg]||152|
|Phosphorus, P [mg]||293|
|Potassium, K [mg]||2014|
|Sodium, Na [mg]||30|
|Zinc, Zn [mg]||2.48|
|Copper, Cu [mg]||0.37|
|Manganese, Mn [mg]||2|
|Selenium, Se [µg]||8.8|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]||76.4|
|Vitamin B-6 [mg]||2.45|
|Folate, total [µg]||106|
|Folate, food [µg]||106|
|Folate, DFE [µg]||106|
|Choline, total [mg]||51.5|
|Vitamin A, RAE [µg]||2081|
|Carotene, beta [µg]||21840|
|Cryptoxanthin, beta [µg]||6252|
|Vitamin A, IU [IU]||41610|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]||13157|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]||29.83|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]||80.3|
|Fatty acids, total saturated [g]||3.26|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]||2.75|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]||8.37|
|Sources include : USDA|
Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper
The medicinal or health benefits of the Cayenne pepper include the following.
Reduces Arthritic Pain
The topical application of cayenne pepper causes irritation in the applied area, thus helping to distract the nerves from joint pains due to arthritis.
A diet containing cayenne pepper helps to avoid stomach aches, gas, and cramps. Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine recommends mirchi for proper digestion as it stimulates the flow of stomach secretions and saliva.
Heals Sore Throat
It is said that water mixed with cayenne pepper powder can be used to gargle when you have a sore throat. However, many people prefer not to use it as it is very spicy.
Improves Blood Circulation
When any body part is sick, the blood flow to that area is usually affected. Cayenne helps to remove that entire blotch, stimulates the blood flow, makes sure that the vitamins are properly delivered to all areas, and guarantees that waste is removed.
Relief from Congestion
Capsaicin in cayenne pepper powder stimulates secretions, which helps to clear the mucus from the nose and lungs by clearing the sinuses and causing sweating. Often, in villages in India, if a person is congested in the nose or chest/lungs, some extra mirchi is added to their regular vegetables to make them extra spicy. Tea mixed with cayenne pepper powder is believed to be good against conditions of cold and flu.
Lowers Cholesterol Levels
There has been some research that proves that giving cayenne extract orally to a patient can help to avoid heart attacks. Cayenne helps to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood and helps to dissolve fibrin, which causes the formation of blood clots. It also reduces triglyceride levels.
Smelling cayenne or having it in a drink may help relieve headaches.
Alleviates Respiratory Issues
Cayenne pepper powder is a source of beta-carotene, which is considered to be helpful in reducing symptoms of asthma.
Vitamin A, also known as beta-carotene, in cayenne pepper gives protection against invading pathogens. It does this by helping the development of healthy mucous membranes in the nasal passage, lungs, and urinary tracts, thereby providing immunity against infections.
Cayenne added to food helps you lose weight with proper digestion. Therefore, it also reduces excess appetite due to inefficient absorption of nutrients. On another note, when you eat food that has some extra spicy mirchi, you tend to drink more water, which can definitely help you lose a bit of weight, and flush your system out!
Capsaicin present in cayenne pepper is an important bioactive phytochemical that acts as a cancer preventive agent. An animal study published in 2011 in Cancer Research journal suggests that capsaicin acts as a carcinogen.
Another review study published in Anticancer Research suggests that capsaicin exerts chemopreventive effects, induces apoptosis, and helps prevent further cancer cell growth.
A 2003 human case study suggests that intake of capsaicin may be linked to increased risk of gastric cancer. Therefore, further research would be required to confirm the benefits of cayenne pepper against cancer.
Word of Caution: Like all other foods or herbs, we must be careful when using this herb. Excess consumption may cause burning sensations in the throat, stomach, or rectum.