If you love hot peppers, you’re in luck because there’s an ingredient in this spicy food that can help prevent diabetes, pain, and even cancer. This ingredient is known as capsaicin, which gives the veggies their sought-after heat. A growing body of research supports the benefits that we can obtain from capsaicin.
Since capsaicin is a molecular compound, it has no calories, nutrients, and other dietary content. Aside from the seeds, it is found in almost every part of peppers. Capsaicin isn’t just valued for its heat, but also for its health benefits, which include:
1. Cancer Treatment
This is probably the most studied benefit of the compound as there are various studies that show how effective it is in fighting cancers, including prostate cancer. A 2006 research found that capsaicin can stop the spread of cancer cells and may even cause cell death or apoptosis.
2. Cluster Headaches Relief
Capsaicin has always been used for pain relief, but it is mostly found in topical creams to relieve cluster headaches. This type of headache is different from tension headaches or even migraines. Cluster headaches are recurring headaches that are often described as the worst pain sufferers have ever felt. Some women even compare it to childbirth pain. Repeatedly applying capsaicin cream can reduce incidence of these headaches.
3. Pain Relief
Because capsaicin has analgesic properties, it can activate TRPV1 receptor, which releases a neurotransmitter to stop the brain from signaling pain. It is effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis symptoms.
4. Psoriasis Treatment
If you have dry, itchy skin known as psoriasis, capsaicin can help with the treatment. In cream form, it can decrease breakouts on the skin.
5. Diabetes Management
Capsaicin is useful in preventing and treating diabetes. Those who consistently eat capsaicin-rich foods can improve insulin reactions and blood sugar levels in both men and women. It is also effective in women with gestational diabetes. Diabetic neuropathy, which is a painful condition that is related to diabetes, can be treated with cream that contains capsaicin to decrease pain.
6. Weight Management
For those trying to lose weight, eating chili peppers is one of the best ways to speed it up. There are studies that show how eating spicy foods can help lower body weight, while boosting metabolism and burning fat. Capsaicin can also help suppress appetite.
The best way to consume capsaicin is to simply eat foods that are loaded with it, including all pepper varieties with the exception of bell peppers. If you’re not used to spicy foods, you can take it slowly by eating milder varieties. There are also supplements with capsaicin, which is often known as cayenne powder pills.