Shubhra Krishan September 7, 2013
During my growing up years, we never bought over-the-counter medicines for curing a bout of cold. My grandmother would dish up a bowl of hearty vegetable soup, and sprinkle a generous pinch of cayenne into it. The soup always left me feeling better, and now I know that the cayenne was responsible for relieving the congestion in my nose and throat.
Cayenne is a vital spice in Indian cuisine. In fact, there are few curries or stews that I can imagine without a dash of it. The addition of cayenne brings a glorious touch of color, and adds exciting heat! But more than that, cayenne is loaded with health benefits that are too bountiful to ignore. Here is a short list:
Cayenne causes a burning sensation in your mouth. This comes from capsaicin, the oily compound in it. Now did you know: Capsaicin is the active ingredient in many prescription and over-the-counter creams and ointments. Its chemical action brings quick relief from pain, be it migraine, joint inflammation or diabetes-triggered nerve pain.
“Don’t eat cayenne, it will irritate your stomach,” I am often told. The truth is, cayenne does the opposite—it soothes the gut! It stimulates saliva and mucous, both of which contain substances that promote good digestion.
According to ancient healing systems, digestion holds the key to good health. And cayenne pepper helps the digestive system greatly. It boosts metabolism, neutralizes toxins and helps you burn more calories.
The spice helps oxygen and vital nutrients flow through your blood stream, thus keeping your circulatory system in fine working order.
An important study has found that cayenne pepper can cause prostate cancer cells to commit suicide. Another study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that people with diabetes who ate a meal containing liberal amounts of chile pepper required less post meal insulin to reduce their blood sugar, suggesting the spice may have anti-diabetes benefits.
If you have so far stayed away from cayenne, I suggest you introduce it slowly into your diet, so you can reap all its amazing health benefits.