They say some like it hot, right? Here’s good news if you love food with a kick (think: curry, salsa, or jalapeño poppers): eating spicy foods has more health benefits than you probably realize. In particular, cayenne pepper is more than just a red-hot spice that adds extra flavor to your tacos—it can also help you burn calories, ditch cold symptoms, and more. Watch this video to learn why cayenne pepper is so good for you (and then cook up a bowl of well-seasoned chili!).
- It helps with weight loss: Cayenne is considered a slimming spice for a reason. Studies have suggested it may help curb appetite as well as increase calorie burn during digestion. Add a dash of the hot stuff to your plate for a fast-moving metabolism.
- It soothes cold symptoms: Feeling stuffy? Sprinkle some cayenne in your cup of tea. It’s known to help clear your nasal passages, so you feel less blocked-up during cold and flu season.
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- It relieves pain: Cayenne contains capsaicin, an active plant compound that has pain-relieving properties. Capsaicin works by decreasing the intensity of pain signals sent through the body, which is one reason why it’s often an ingredient in over-the-counter arthritis creams.
- It prevents ulcers: Some people believe spicy foods can cause ulcers, but the opposite might be true. Recent studies have suggested that capsaicin helps kill bacteria, which may have a protective effect against ulcers, the uncomfortable sores that can develop inside the stomach lining or small intestine.