Not everyone appreciates spicy foods. Some people just can’t handle the heat, while others find it as a great appetizer. But most people usually just see chili peppers as a spicy food that either boosts your appetite or make you lose it. Not everyone knows the health benefits you get from these hot peppers. So what are these health benefits?
What is Capsaicin?
Capsaicin is the compound responsible for the spiciness you get from chili peppers, cayenne, and jalapenos. Capsaicin is a potent inhibitor of the substance P, which is a neuropeptide associated with inflammatory processes. This is why it is considered an irritant to mammals, including humans. It produces a burning sensation to any tissue that comes into contact with it. And this is mainly why we say that chili peppers, cayenne, and jalapenos, among many others, are hot. The hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it has. Capsaicin is also the compound responsible for the many health benefits of eating spicy food. Below are some capsaicin health benefits.
It may seem odd when you think that a burning sensation from capsaicin can be very painful and yet the very compound that causes pain is also a pain reliever. Well, believe it or not, capsaicin is recognized as a natural pain reliever that alleviates disabling pain associated with diabetic neuropathy and osteoarthritis.
A study has been conducted on patients with psoriasis to determine the effects of capsaicin as a topical treatment for the disease. And they found that those given capsaicin reported to have significant improvement on the severity of the symptoms of psoriasis. The only side effect that the patients mentioned was the burning sensation on the area where the capsaicin cream was applied.
This is another weird thing about capsaicin. But it is being studied as a treatment for sensory nerve fiber d isorders. These sensory nerve fiber disorders include arthritis, psoriasis, and diabetic neuropathy. When the test animals were injected with a substance that induces inflammation and fed with a diet containing capsaicin, scientists found that they had delayed onset of arthritis. There was also a significant reduction in the paw inflammation.
You might have noticed how your nose suddenly clears up when eating spicy food. Well, this is because the peppery heat stimulates secretions that help clear up the mucus in your nose and decongest your lungs.
A study found that capsaicin kills cancer cells. Capsaicin was found to induce the cancer cells to commit suicide. The compound caused about 80% of prostate cancer cells in mice to die. The prostate tumors treated with capsaicin were only around one-fifth the size of the tumors in untreated mice. Capsaicin inhibits the growth of the cancers cells which is why it is a good remedy for treating people with cancer.
Treatment for Digestive Disorders and Diseases
Capsaicin can be used to treat indigestion. This goes hand in hand with capsaicin as a natural pain reliever and an anti-inflammation. Oral consumption of capsaicin, according to the University of Pittsburg Medical Center, reduces the pain with indigestion. Capsaicin reduces the substance P in the stomach. This temporarily relieves the burning sensation in dyspepsia. Capsaicin, in a way, may also prevent ulcers due to drugs such as aspirin that are used to treat inflammation.
Capsaicin is found to be an effective cure for inflammatory bowel disease based on the study at Duke University. The compound also helps kill bacteria like H. pylori. This also helps in preventing stomach ulcers.
Capsaicin reduces triglycerides, cholesterol, and platelet aggregation. Because of this reduction, capsaicin helps to protect your heart. It also helps the body dissolve fibrin, Fibrin is necessary for blood to clot. Dissolving fibrin reduces unnecessary formation of blood clots. Capsaicin also protects the fats in your blood from damage by free radicals, which could lead to atherosclerosis. With these three combined, capsaicin promotes your cardiovascular system to function better.
Studies also show that cultures that liberally use hot peppers in their daily meals have lower chances of heart attacks, strokes, and pulmonary embolisms compared to cultures that do not.
Burn Fat and Lose Weight/
All that heat you feel when you eat chili peppers takes energy, calories. Capsaicin is a thermogenic substance. It increases metabolic activity. A faster metabolism means a faster and more efficient burning of calories and fats. And when you burn these fats, you lose weight. Capsaicin is found to be one of the main ingredients in many “fat-burning” supplements available in the market today.