When it comes to spicing up our lives, there are few ingredients that pack a punch, like cayenne pepper. While diet and exercise are integral for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, incorporating cayenne pepper into one’s diet could provide a variety of health benefits.
Which is why I added this super spice to my morning routine 2 months ago, and it has changed my health. According to research, cayenne pepper has the potential to help alleviate pain, protect our cardiovascular system, support digestive health, and even fight off some forms of cancer. And as a Breast Cancer Thriver, IBS sufferer, and Premenopausal Mom, I found myself struggling with joint pain, gut issues, poor immune health, and major brain fog.
But after adding a ¼ tsp of this superfood to a cup of water that I drink 1st thing in the morning, it has been a game changer, so much so that I wanted to take a moment to share my newfound love of Cayenne Pepper with you.
Cayenne pepper offers a range of pain-relieving effects to the human body due to its anti-inflammatory properties. A single dose of cayenne pepper extract is said to have the ability to reduce pain by as much as 40%, and applying topically was shown to help reduce the intensity of neuropathic pain.
In the study, researchers tested the effects of a topical cream that contained either a low or a high concentration of cayenne pepper extract on 30 individuals with neuropathic, chronic pain. The participants were randomly assigned to either the low-concentration or the high-concentration cayenne pepper topical cream group. All participants applied the creams to the area of pain daily for four weeks. At the end of the study, the researchers found that the participants in the high-concentration cayenne pepper topical cream group experienced a significantly greater reduction in neuropathic pain intensity than those in the low-concentration group. (1,16)
For me, it helped the extremely painful joint inflammation I was experiencing in my fingers due to hormonal changes that came with perimenopause. It had gotten to the point that I could not put major pressure around the proximal interphalangeal joint (PIP) or simply put the middle joint in each finger that is right below the knuckle without flinching. But now, after 2 months of constantly taking Cayenne Pepper, the inflammation has gone away.
Cayenne pepper also has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. Studies have shown that it can help reduce cholesterol accumulation in the body, which is known to be one of the primary risk factors for heart disease. They also found that cayenne pepper can significantly reduce bad LDL cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels and has been associated with improved blood flow (circulation), helping to lower blood pressure and support low blood pressure and to help with the restoration of ischemic damage (issues caused by poor blood flow). (2,3,4,5)
Immune System Support
In addition to its ability to help with pain management and cardiovascular health, cayenne pepper may also help stave off certain forms of cancer. A 2012 study published in the Molecular Nutrition & Food Research journal (3) found that capsaicin, the active component found in cayenne pepper, can inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells, including those of the lung, prostate, and stomach.
It does this through the several compounds that Cayenne Pepper contains that can help boost the body’s immune system. Capsaicin, the compound that gives cayenne pepper its characteristic spicy flavor, and it’s known anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, antioxidant, and even antidepressant properties make it a powerful tool in helping to reduce colds and influenza-like symptoms by helping boost the immune system and its function, which reduced susceptibility to these types of infections. [6,7,8,9]
The healing powers of cayenne pepper, in terms of immune system health, have been credited to its high levels of vitamins A and C, as well as minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Vitamin A helps to support the innate immune system, while Vitamin C plays a role in cellular immune defenses and protection from invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Potassium, magnesium, and zinc help to regulate metabolic reactions and hormones that are needed for normal immune responses [10,11].
Cayenne pepper may have beneficial effects on digestion due to the active compound of capsaicin, which creates high levels of antioxidants, including polyphenols, carotenoids, and vitamins C and E, that not only have anti-inflammatory properties but protect against oxidative damage.
Studies have found that taking cayenne pepper led to an increase in the release of digestive enzymes that help break down food and resulted in a decrease in indigestion. As well as stimulated the secretion of digestive juices, which can help reduce gut inflammation, resulting in a decrease in abdominal pain, improved nutrient absorption, promote beneficial gut bacteria growth, and other symptoms like irritable bowel syndrome. (12,13,14,15)
This was one of the other huge positive changes I saw in my gut health. As I suffered from terrible IBS and sensitive stomach issues for years. I was hesitant at first to start adding cayenne pepper to my wellness protocol for this very reason. Because everything hurt my stomach. But after taking Cayenne pepper and working my way up from a 1/8th of a tsp to a ¼ of a tsp over a 2-week period, I am now able to eat and drink things that I could not for the last couple of years.
From improving blood flow, reducing pain, helping with gut health, to fighting cancer cells, and boosting immune health, cayenne pepper has potential health benefits that cannot be overlooked.
If you’re looking to add a healthy kick to your daily routine, consider adding ¼ tsp of Organic Cayenne pepper into 1 cup of lukewarm water first thing in the morning, so you can also enjoy some of the powerful health benefits of this affordable and readily available super spice.
 Anesthesiology: Dooley, L.A., Chambers, M.P., Cooke, K.C., Al-Ani, F., McIntosh, A.M., Sweeney, J.M., Johnstone, A.D., 2019. Effect of an Extract of Capsicum annuum on Acute Analgesia in Humans: A Randomised Controlled Trial. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000002702
 University of Maryland Medical Center: Cholesterol-lowering Foods. [Online] Available at: https://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/cholesterol-lowering-foods
 Molecular Nutrition & Food Research: Liu, Y., Zhang, S., Zhang, R., Wang, K., Hu, K. & Yao, X., 2012. Capsaicin inhibits growth and induces apoptosis of lung cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. doi:10.1002/mnfr.201200189
 Tarcznik-Zarzycka, M., Wierzbicki, J., Tarcznik, A., & Librowski, T. (2015). Impact of consumption of cayenne pepper (Capsicum frutescens L.) on lipids and antioxidants content in blood of rats. Acta Medica Academica, 44(2), 178-185.
 El-Menshawi, M., El-deeb, W., El-sayed, M. A., El-kenawy, F., & Abd El-Khalek, M. (2019). Protective Effects of Capsaicin against Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in a Rat Model of Ischemic Heart Disease. Integrative Medicine Research, 8(4), 304-314.
 Ali, S.A., Anwer, T., & Gilani, A.H. (2014). Capsaicin: A potential antimicrobial agent. Frontiers in pharmacology, 5(110), 1-5.
 Schoop, R., Klein, P., Suter, A., Johnston, S., & Diefenbach, K. (2007). A review of the epidemiology, clinical features and treatment of cough due to upper respiratory tract infection. Phytotherapy Research, 21(5), 418-423.
 Ajazuddin, S., Derlenhimer, F., Chisimdi, U., & Ahmed, S. (2015). Cayenne pepper (Capsicum annuum) as an immunomodulator. Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 28(4), 1345-1350.
 Devkota, S.K., Panda, S.K., & Banerjee, A. (2017). Evaluation of immunomodulatory activity of capsaicin rich extract of red pepper (Capsicum annuum) in Balb/c mice. Journal of nutrition and metabolism, 2017.
 Gupta, A., Dhama, K., & Kumar, A. (2019). Nutritional and therapeutic values of pepper (Piper nigrum): A review. International journal of food properties, 22(10), 2343-2353.
 Liu, S., Li, X., Chang, S., Hu, P., & Zhang, X. (2010). Micronutrients and immune function. Nutrients, 2(6), 673-685.
 Kannapiran, M., Devaraj, T., & Vignesh, K. (2020). In vitro characterization and antioxidant capacity of different extracts from the commercial varieties of chilli (Capsicum annuum L.). Food Science and Technology, 37, 699-713.
 Kadrabová, J. and Nidetzky, B., 2011. Capsaicin and gastrointestinal function: physiological and pharmacological effects. Pharmaceuticals, 4(8), pp.852-863.
 Lutgendorf, S.K., Sorenson, C.M., Wurscher, M.A. and Wallace, M.C., 1991. Capsaicin stimulates release and is a stimulatory ligand of substance P in gastric gland cells. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 36(12), pp.1801-1808.
 Aydin, S., Canbaz, B., Isik, A.T., Akdogan, M., Uyar, M. and Yücesan, S., 2019. Effect of capsaicin therapy on IBS-associated gastrointestinal symptoms, anxiety, and depression among outpatient subjects. Neurogastroenterology & Motility, 31(10), p.e13514.
 Ahmad Jahanbin, Elham Mahdavi, Mona Alavi-Moghaddam, et al. “Topical Cayenne Pepper Extract for Neuropathic Pain Management: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2020, Article ID 8163685, 10 pages, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/8163685
Ghesi Stojanov is a Certified Transformational Life Coach, NLP Practitioner, and Inspirational Speaker.
Ghesi's passion is to help individuals find balance in their lives by helping them focus on what they do have and tap into the power within, so they can see the beauty and opportunity that lies everywhere.
She is a huge believer that every person has purpose, and value, and is stronger, emotionally, physically, and mentally than they give themselves credit for. Which fuels her passion not just for herself, but to help others to stop settling for the mediocre and to live life with purpose, meaning, and Color!