Do you like eating pepper? I must confess that I love it! I like my foods spicy and well-seasoned. For me, food without pepper is bland. My favourite is the scotch bonnet pepper. That extra kick does it for me. If you do as well, you will be excited at the numerous health benefits you would get by adding peppers to your diet. Read on to know them.
1. Fight Cancer
A study published in Cancer Research found that capsaicin caused cancer cells to commit suicide. The substance caused almost 80 percent of prostate cancer cells to die in mice, and prostate tumors treated with capsaicin were about one-fifth the size of those in untreated mice. “Capsaicin inhibits the growth of human prostate cancer cells in petri dishes and mice,” says lead researcher Dr. H. Phillip Koeffler, director of hematology and oncology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and a professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. Further, researchers say capsaicin pills may one day be used to prevent the return of prostate cancer.
2. Provide Pain Relief
A topical form of capsaicin is a recognized treatment for osteoarthritis pain, and may also help alleviate pain from diabetic neuropathy. Capsaicin is also known to inhibit Substance P, a neuropeptide that is the key transmitter of pain to the brain. Substance P can cause swelling of nerve fibers, which may result in headaches and sinus symptoms. Studies have found that capsaicin both relieves and prevents cluster headaches, migraine headaches and sinus headaches.
3. Prevent Sinusitis and Relieve Congestion
Capsaicin has potent antibacterial properties that fight and prevent chronic sinus infections, or sinusitis. Because it is so hot, it also helps to stimulate secretions that help clear mucus from your nose, thereby relieving nasal congestion. This phytochemical may also help relieve sinus-related allergy symptoms.
4. Fight Inflammation Capsaicin
is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. It works by inhibiting Substance P, which is associated with inflammatory processes. Capsaicin is being looked at as a potential treatment for arthritis, psoriasis and diabetic neuropathy.
5. Soothe Intestinal Diseases
A Duke University study found that capsaicin may lead to a cure for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The substance can also help to kill bacteria such as H. pylori, which can help prevent stomach ulcers.
6. Burn Fat and Lose Weight
Capsaicin is a thermogenic agent, which means it increases metabolic activity. This, in turn, helps to burn calories and fat. Many popular “fat-burning” supplements on the market contain capsaicin, as the substance may significantly increase metabolic activity for over 20 minutes after it’s eaten.
7. Protect Your Heart
Capsaicin may help to protect the heart by reducing cholesterol, triglycerides and platelet aggregation. It may also help the body dissolve fibrin, which is necessary for blood clots to form. Further, cultures around the world that use hot peppers liberally in their meals have significantly lower rates of heart attack and stroke.