Do you like spicy and hot foods? Did you know that these foods can actually be beneficial to your health? A phytochemical that can be found in hot peppers called capsaicin can be good for your health. Capsaicin is a colorless, odorless chemical that is responsible for the burning sensation you feel when you taste a hot pepper. Yes, capsaicin gives the hot taste to cayenne peppers, chili, and jalapeno.
Capsaicin health benefits
Today, this chemical is used as a medication both internally and as a topical application. Here are some of the capsaicin health benefits:
Capsaicin reduces pain
Capsaicin is known to inhibit a neuropeptide called Substance P that is the key transmitter of pain to the brain. Scientific studies have demonstrated that capsaicin can relieve headaches, migraine headaches and sinus pains.
Capsaicin acts as an anti inflammatory
Another benefit of capsaicin is that it can fight inflammation. This makes it a potent component in medications against psoriasis, arthritis and diabetic neuropathy.
Capsaicin lowers “bad” cholesterol
Capsaicin is known to lower “bad” cholesterol, lower high blood pressure and prevent the hardening of the arteries. This makes it good for your heart and a medicine that can prevent heart attack when consumed regularly. A recent study says that capsaicin may have important potential for promoting vascular and metabolic health.
It can keep you digestive system healthy
Because of its anti bacterial properties, capsaicin fights the infections in the intestines, and increases the production of digestive enzymes in the stomach. Consuming foods high in capsaicin can result in a healthier and more functional digestive system.
It can keep your respiratory system healthy
Because of its anti bacterial properties that were mentioned above, capsaicin fights respiratory system infections and sinus infections and common allergies. At the same time it will relieve nasal congestion by stimulating secretions in the nose.
Capsaicin increases metabolism and burns fat
Capsaicin also has thermogenic properties, which means it increases metabolic activity. Your metabolism will be increased for over 30 minutes after it is consumed. Even a large number of today’s fat burning supplements contain a certain amount of this chemical in their structure. Some experts even agree that the hot feeling of consumed capsaicin can cause a decrease in appetite, which can result in eating smaller quantities of food over time and weight loss.
It may kill cancer cells
In a Cancer Research study it was discovered that about 80% of the human cancer cells grown in mice have died after they were treated with capsaicin. “Capsaicin inhibits the growth of human prostate cancer cells in petri dishes and mice,” said lead researcher Dr. H. Phillip Koeffler, director of hematology and oncology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and a professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. However, some of the findings are controversial and more research is needed.
The capsaicin health benefits are numerous, but not everyone is able to eat hot and spicy foods. In this case capsaicin supplementation can be used to replace hot foods.