You’ve seen or heard of it before. Cayenne (aka. Capsium Annuum). It’s the popular fiery red powder that adds a lot of heat to dishes, but generally lacks some flavour. It’s the high concentration of capsaicin found in cayenne that causes your mouth to burn. What some might not know is that this spice comes with some interesting health benefits. Cayenne happens to be a rich source of potassium, calcium, beta-carotene, B-complexes and vitamins A, C, and E. Cayenne originated thousands of years ago in Central and South America, and got its name after the city Cayenne, in French Guiana.
Here are three great reasons to add a little heat to your next meal:
1. Boost the burn!
Studies have shown that consuming just a half teaspoon of cayenne with a meal can help suppress appetite, speed up your metabolism and burn additional calories. It works as a metabolic-booster that aids the body in burning excess fat. In fact it can increase the metabolic rate a whopping 25%. In studies with people who started adding cayenne to their meals, results were they decreased calorie intake about 60cal per day, as well burned an additional 10 calories. OK, so those numbers may seem small but they will add up. And who doesn’t want to burn extra calories from eating?
Cayenne can help stimulate the digestive tract simply by increasing the flow of enzyme production and gastric juices. This results in aiding the body to metabolize food as well as unwanted toxins more efficiently. Studies have also shown that cayenne can be beneficial in relieving intestinal gas.
Cayenne, known as a circulatory stimulant also increases the pulse of our lymphatic and digestive rhythms thus heating the body. This heating results in the body streamlining the process of detoxification. The fiery feeling you get from eating cayenne can also cause your body to put the sweat glands to work, which is another way our body likes to get rid of toxins. Try adding a dash of cayenne to your room-temperature lemon water in the morning to kickstart your body into detox mode.
Not used to spicy foods? Start adding little bits at a time to build up your tolerance. Another thing to think about is the heat from cayenne increases the longer you cook it. So if you’re using it in your next cooked dish, add it towards the end or simply sprinkle some on before eating.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.