Cayenne Pepper: Hot and Healthy!By Mary Curtis
Cayenne pepper is a favorite for many cultures. From Asia to the Americas, the red pepper known as the cayenne pepper (pronounced "KAY-Yen") is an essesntial ingredient in traditional dishes.
The cayenne is a small pepper, but don’t let its size fool you. As small as it is, the cayenne pepper packs a wallop in flavor as well as a wide variety of health benefits.
You might already know that the cayenne pepper is very, very hot. Because of the pepper’s heat, it is hard for some people to get beyond the burning sensation to discover how good it tastes. Difficult as it may be to eat hot pepper, the burning sensation is actually a healthy benefit as research shows the hotness in your mouth actually releases susbstances in your body to help reduce stress!
This spicy red pepper, according to research, helps a variety of conditions including arthritis, weight gain, even preventing infection by boosting immunity. Cayenne can boost your mood by increasing energy and an overall feeling of well-being.
So, how do you start gaining the healthy benefits from cayenne pepper? Here are a few ways to get going:
- In your grocery store or supermarket, buy cayenne pepper already ground or in the whole pepper pods. If you buy the whole pods, just use a coffee grinder to grind a few pods at a time into a fine powder.
- Look for foods that contain cayenne pepper; for instance, you can find nuts or chips coated with cayenne pepper. Make sure, however, that the ingredients list actually says "cayenne pepper" and not just artificial flavoring.
- Look for hot sauces which contain cayenne pepper. Examples include Tabasco, Frank's Red Hot Original Cayenne Pepper Hot Sauce, or Pain is Good Cayenne Pepper Sauce.
2. Spice up your foods:
- Sprinkle ground pepper lightly over all your meals. Eggs, beans, salads, veggies, even a dash inside a sandwich.
- Or, add a dash or two of your favorite sauce. (Try different brands at first; you will eventually decide on your own personal favorites!)
3. Make a spicy morning beverage:
- Add a small amount of cayenne pepper to a glass of water. If you like fresh lemon, add a squeeze or two from a lemon slice (lemon is optional). Stir with a spoon and drink down.
- Caution: This drink if very hot. Do not use more that ¼ teaspoon of powdered cayenne pepper and only use that amount after you become familiar with the pepper’s heat. Start out with a very tiny amount – less than a pinch. A little goes a long way!
- Drinking cayenne pepper in the morning - before you have had anything else (before your coffee or tea too) - allows the pepper's healthy properties to go to work more effectively, absorbing quickly into your body.
These are just a few ways to a healthier you through the wonders of the cayenne pepper.
Learn more about cayenne pepper from these resources: