Either as a powder or in its whole form, cayenne pepper is widely used to sharpen the taste of dishes (such as in Szechuan cuisine). But what many people don't realize is that cayenne pepper's health benefits have also long been used as an herbal medication, helping with cardiovascular problems and joint pain.
Over the years, patients have told me that capsaicin, available as a supplement, has helped alleviate angina and improve heart failure. I don’t know the precise reason why, but I suspect it has vasodilating properties, which explains why it increases circulation (and temperature) wherever it’s applied.
You see, the key compound that provides the cayenne pepper health benefits is a pungent substance called capsaicin, which is the main active ingredient in a number of over-the-counter “hot creams” for joint and muscle pain. Capsaicin creates the sensation of heat through a thermogenic effect that raises body temperature and boosts circulation in the area where it’s applied. Taken orally, it may help to burn calories and contribute to weight loss.
Including Cayenne Pepper Health Benefits in Your Diet
It’s easy to include cayenne pepper in your heart-healthy nutrition program. You can cook with it in chili or other dishes. Or, sprinkle cayenne pepper on fish, soups, or salads a few times per week if you like the flavor. As a supplement, you can take 2,000–4,000 mg every other day for optimal cayenne pepper health benefits.
Now it's your turn: What's your favorite way to include cayenne pepper in your diet?