7. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne peppers (scientifically known as Capsicum annuum) are a close relative of the jalapeño and bell peppers. Cayenne peppers provide a fiery spice and are a staple in South American, Mexican, Korean and other cuisines.
Cayenne pepper contains anti-irritant, anti-fungal, anti-allergen, anti-cold and flu, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used to prevent migraine headaches, and can stimulate the digestive tract, speeding up the digestion process and supporting a healthy metabolic system. It’s also a circulatory stimulant, and can aid detoxification of the body by increasing the pulse of lymphatic rhythms, heating the body, and making us sweat more.
Cayenne pepper can help normalize blood pressure levels by balancing the LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the body. Cayenne peppers contain a compound called capsaicin, which is the active ingredient in peppers that gives spiciness and heat. Capsaicin is often used as a pain reliever as it contains analgesic properties that can treat pain or discomfort in muscles and joints. Capsaicin is also a vasodilator which means it dilates the blood vessels and allows blood to flow more smoothly, dropping the blood pressure. A study published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information discusses the potential for capsaicin to support vascular and metabolic health.
Cayenne pepper can be added as a spice to most meals and is a wonderful seasoning for meat, especially poultry and fish. Combine cayenne pepper with lemon juice and honey for a healthy, invigorating morning beverage. However, if your palate isn’t used to spice, be careful when you first try it. Ingesting too much cayenne pepper can cause side effects such as stomach upset or irritation and heartburn, so it’s best to introduce it in small amounts, increasing it each day.