Cayenne pepper benefits: heart health, weight loss, pain relief, etc.


Nagina Abdullah


May 17, 2018

Benefits of Cayenne pepper - usage

Women in Mexico, South America and the West Indies lit up their homes with cayenne peppers, now you can light up your metabolism with these cayenne pepper benefits.

I love to imagine these women picking the eye-catching bright red chilis. They returned to their homes holding handkerchiefs stuffed with the red peppers, sat down and let their minds wander,  tying twine to the stems of the beautiful little peppers.

People in these cultures used cayenne peppers to decorate their homes by hanging the vibrant chilis in their windows. These cultures have always been full of life and color. In a way, they used cayenne peppers as the first twinkle lights before electricity! The bright red peppers represented their fiery passion and love for life.

Someone along the way figured out that these red gems weren’t just exciting for the eyes, it woke up the taste buds and got the blood flowing, too! Apart from an eye-catching window detail, cayenne was used for thousands of years in ancient medicines to treat circulatory problems. (1)

Cayenne benefits the body with beautifying antioxidants and tons of other health boosters. This vivid red pepper with a skinny pointed tip will help you get skinny and increase your body’s self-healing abilities, too!

Cayenne has a lot of capsaicin (the compound that gives chili peppers their heat). Read more about the weight-loss specific benefits of capsaicin here

In this post, I’ll go over everything you want to know about cayenne pepper and its benefits.

Here’s what we’ll talk about:
  • How cayenne pepper benefits help you lose weight
  • How cayenne can be used to replace aspirin for pain relief and to soothe the gut and balance hormones
  • The specific vitamins and compounds in cayenne that give you young, healthy-looking skin
  • How to use cayenne for treating psoriasis and fighting candida, inflammation, and cancer
  • Precautions: How much cayenne is safe to eat or take as a supplement, and when you might want to skip it
  • How LITTLE cayenne you need to experience the benefits + 7 sweet and less spicy ideas for getting more cayenne in your diet!

Benefits of cayenne pepper for weight loss

Cayenne pepper improves digestion in several ways. It stimulates our salivary glands and the flow of enzyme production and gastric juices. (2)

It also stimulates a massaging motion of the intestines in order to move food through the digestive tract and absorb nutrients. 

All this aides our bodies in extracting the vitamins and minerals from our food to boost metabolism. In fact, cayenne can increase a body’s metabolic rate by 20% for up to 2 hours! (1)

Cayenne also supports elimination to avoid constipation or bloating. (3)

Cayenne curbs appetite by creating a feeling of fullness. (2,3) This is because of the heat from the capsaicin. When you’re digesting a spicy meal, your tummy feels satisfied with the stimulating warmth from within.

It also helps the body to control and stabilize glucose levels in the blood.

This is a double benefit. First of all, it keeps your body from producing too much insulin after a meal, which your body will store as fat if you don’t burn it. (2)

This is also helpful for preventing diabetes or helping diabetics to manage their glucose levels with food.

The second advantage to normal glucose levels is that your energy stays constant. The compounds in cayenne keep your blood sugar from rising too much and then dropping back down again.

Get a focus-boosting ground ginger tea recipe here

So, it might be a good idea to add a pinch of cayenne to any foods with a little more sugar than normal, or foods high in carbohydrates. Try adding it to a fruit smoothie, or sprinkling it on high-fiber toast.

Another way cayenne helps you slim and tone, is through detoxing and debloating. (3)

I’m NOT talking about doing the dangerous “detox diet” where you only drink lemon juice and cayenne in water! Starving yourself is NEVER a good solution. It only slows your metabolism down as your body thinks it has to store every calorie as fat to keep you alive.

The smart, healthy way to detox with cayenne is by simply adding it to your meals in normal amounts, like in these belly-flattening foods.

This pretty red pepper will help you naturally detox by pushing out toxins while taking your dinner to a new flavor level.

Cayenne pepper for pain relief — Natural and effective

The heat in cayenne has been shown to relieve migraine pain. It does this by distracting your body from the pain in your head.

Once your brain’s attention is drawn to the spicy heat from cayenne, the migraine pressure is relieved by a reduced amount of substance P, the pain chemical activating the nerves in your head. (2)

Cayenne is also linked to relieving joint and nerve pain. (2) Capsaicin, the ingredient in cayenne that makes it taste spicy, is actually the active ingredient in over-the-counter treatments you’ll find for arthritis and muscle pain in the pharmacy. (4)

While some people find that too much cayenne can irritate the gut, small to moderate amounts can work as anti-irritant for the gut. (2) There can always be too much of a good thing, but moderate doses of cayenne in food can soothe and renew the digestive system for most people.

Cayenne pepper skin benefits

Vitamins A is a powerful antioxidant that works against free radicals, which accelerate signs of aging. It also boosts cell turnover to keep your skin looking fresh and glowy. It’s also good for your vision, your immune system and neurological functioning. (2)

Vitamin E, another strong antioxidant, fights free radicals and slows aging, too. It also balances hormones, repairs damaged skin and hair by replenishing elasticity. It’s good for your vision and even gives you more energy! (2)

Find out exactly how much of the Passion Spice (cayenne) I recommend you aim for every day in this FREE downloadable cheat sheet.

If you have the skin condition psoriasis, cayenne can help you manage your symptoms!

Normally, skin cells die and are replaced by new cells. But because of a possible hormone or immune imbalance, skin with psoriasis creates new cells too quickly. The itchy, red, scaly patches on the skin can be treated topically with cream containing cayenne pepper. (2)

Several studies show a reduction in psoriasis symptoms for people when they use cayenne cream for several weeks. (4)

Cayenne pepper benefits the body

Help your heart with cayenne

Cayenne promotes a healthy heart by preventing blood clots and through balancing cholesterol levels. (2) It also reduces irregular heartbeat and and improves blood flow through the whole circulatory system. (3)

Reduce inflammation and sickness with the purifying power of cayenne

Cayenne’s natural anti-inflammatory compounds soothe allergies and even prevent them from developing in the first place. (2)

It also helps the body fight off cold and flu symptoms thanks to its beta-carotene and Vitamin C. (2) The spicy flavor of cayenne breaks up mucus and clears sinus and chest congestion. (3,4) So you’ll be able to breathe easier right away.

Balance your hormones and beat fungal infections with cayenne

Dr. Axe talks about Candida, a natural fungal organism in your digestive tract that can grow out of control and knock your whole system out of balance.

The right amount of Candida and other natural fungi in your gut does its job helping your body break down food. But when Candia grows out of control, you could suffer from hormone imbalance, digestive issues, joint problems and a weaker immune system. (2)

Lots of things can contribute to Candida overgrowth, but too much sugar is usually a contributor. Cayenne can help reduce Candida overgrowth levels so your immune system can do its job and keep your body in balance.

Help your body prevent and fight cancer with cayenne

One of the most remarkable abilities of cayenne is its potential to cause cancer cells to die. It has also been shown to stop the spread of cancer by not letting cancerous cells travel across the body. (1)

A study conducted at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine found that cayenne can inhibit cancer cell growth in the first place. (2)

The capsaicin in cayenne has been linked to prohibiting cancer and tumor growth in several other studies. Cayenne appears to be particularly useful in managing prostate cancer as well as fighting breast, lung, colon and liver cancer. (1,2)


Each body can react differently to things like spicy food. Cayenne could affect some people by upsetting or irritating their stomach, making them sweat, causing a red face and runny nose. (2)

Since cayenne increases blood flow, that also means it could cause more bleeding during and after surgery. Just to be safe, cut back on cayenne two weeks before surgery, especially if you’re taking cayenne supplements or consuming several teaspoons per day. (2)

Cayenne pepper safety

Cayenne pepper comes as a natural supplement in pill form. Some people take cayenne supplements to maximize the benefits of the powerful spice without eating food that would probably be so spicy it would make you cry.

Either 30-120 milligram capsules or 0.3-1 milliliter of liquid tincture 1 to 3 times per day is safe. It is not recommend taking cayenne in doses higher than that, or over a long period of time. (5)

Before taking cayenne supplements, talk to your doctor for their approval.

You might not be able to take cayenne pepper supplements if you:

  • Are on medication to slow blood clotting or for high blood pressure
  • Will have surgery soon
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Take theophylline for respiratory diseases or asthma (7)

If you’d prefer to get you cayenne in food (which is what I’d recommend) adding 1 or 2 teaspoons to meals is perfectly okay.  When you get cayenne in your food, it’s spread out over several servings and will be easier for your body to use.

If you find that eating cayenne makes your eyes water, irritates your mouth or stomach, scale it back until you reach a comfortable amount in your food.  Paprika is a less spicy alternative with similar fat-burning properties, and is a good option to start with if you don’t love spicy food. 

Capsaicin is the main compound in cayenne that torches fat cells away. The more capsaicin in a pepper, the hotter it is and the more fat-flaming power it has.

For a list of 10 peppers ranging from mild to spicy hot, check out my post on capsaicin (Capsaicin For Weight Loss: Does Cayenne Pepper Burn Belly Fat?). You’ll find milder peppers that still give you the fat-burning benefits that cayenne pepper does, with less or more heat.

Some other precautions if you use capsaicin cream for psoriasis or on achy joints are to wash your hands after you apply the cream. You might notice a slight burning sensation where the cream is applied, and if you absentmindedly touch your eyes or sensitive skin, it could be very irritating.

Generally don’t get the cream in your eyes, nose, mouth or in open wounds or breaks in the skin. (8)

Several sources say not to use the cream on children under the age of two because it could cause irritation or cause a reaction. (2,8)

How to eat cayenne pepper (and how much)

About 28 grams (around 5 teaspoons) of fresh chili pepper, or 1 gram (⅛ to ¼ teaspoon) of dried chili pepper provides benefits. (7)

But you could safely have up to 3-4 teaspoons per day if it doesn’t irritate your mouth or stomach. (8)

Here are some fun ideas for different ways to use cayenne in different ways:

Add cayenne pepper to:

  • Spice mixes
  • Add to marinades or rubs for meats before cooking
  • Sprinkle over veggies before roasting or while sauteing
  • Use in homemade dressing by mixing vinegar, oil, cayenne, and other spices and drizzle over salads or air-popped popcorn
  • Sprinkle onto literally ANY dish to make it more exciting (maybe with a squeeze of lemon)
  • Add to hot cocoa, chocolate cake, or other chocolaty treats (It’s a Mexican tradition and it’s a shockingly good flavor combination!)
  • Add small amounts of the powder to smoothies for a hint of spice

There you have it — now you know the main cayenne pepper benefits.

How spicy do you like your meals? You don’t have to torture yourself if you don’t like it spicy! Let me know the creative ways you add spice in amounts you enjoy in the comments below. I’m always looking for new ideas!

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Nagina Sethi Abdullah, BA, MBA

Nagina Abdullah is a health coach for middle-aged women and professionals. She coaches women to boost their metabolism naturally, shed pounds and keep them off. Her work with weight loss clients led to the creation of Masala Body, an online weight loss platform that provides an easy and accessible system that helps women sustainably lose weight. She has helped over 1200 women successfully lose from 10-80 lbs and create a sustainable lifestyle change. Nagina earned her degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley.

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