Turn Up the Heat with Cayenne Pepper

SUJA_CayenneCayenne pepper not only turns up the heat in some of Suja’s most popular juices, it’s also known to have several surprising health benefits too.

Cayenne pepper comes from a shrub that originated in Central and South America and now grows in subtropical and tropical climates. Its hollow fruit grows into long pods that turn red, orange, or yellow when they ripen. The fruit is eaten raw or cooked, or it can be dried and powdered into a spice.

When you think of cayenne pepper, you’ll likely think “hot and spicy.” But this fiery fruit does more than add a blast of flavor and heat. Native Americans have used cayenne as both food and medicine for at least 9,000 years. In recent decades, researchers have studied the potential health benefits of cayenne. Their work has confirmed what Native Americans have long known: cayenne is far more than just a flavorful food.
Studies have shown that cayenne may help with inflammation, pain relief, and even weight loss. The key to the medicinal properties of cayenne pepper is a substance called capsaicin, which also gives the pepper its kick.

Pain relief and anti-inflammation:
Studies have found that capsaicin has potent pain-relieving effects when applied to the skin, by reducing substance P, a chemical that carries pain messages to the brain. When there is less substance P, fewer pain messages reach the brain, and you feel relief. Capsaicin is often recommended for conditions including osteo and rheumatoid arthritis, lower back pain, as well as shingles and other types of nerve pain.

Besides pain-related conditions, some evidence indicates that topical capsaicin may be helpful for psoriasis and other skin conditions, particularly those involving itching and inflammation.
Metabolism and weight loss:
Cayenne pepper may also help burn calories and curb appetite. One study found that about half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper either mixed in food or swallowed in a capsule helped adults burn about 10 more calories over a four-hour period, compared to eating the same meal but without the red pepper. In other studies, cayenne has been shown to slightly decrease appetite, especially in people who said they didn’t already eat spicy foods.

While you shouldn’t expect a weight loss miracle from cayenne, every little bit helps if you’re looking to shed pounds. Aside from capsaicin, cayenne contains nutrients including vitamins A and C, as well as carotenoids, pigments that give red, yellow, and orange plants their color and have healthful antioxidant properties.

Several Suja Juices contain cayenne to give a spicy burst of flavor that your taste buds will love. You’ll find cayenne in Suja’s Lemon Love, Spark, Master Cleanse juices.

Cheers,

Suja Juice

References:

McCleane G. Topical application of doxepin hydrochloride, capsaicin and a combination of both produces analgesia in chronic human neuropathic pain: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Br J Clin Pharmacol . 2000;49:574-579.

McCarthy GM, McCarty DJ. Effect of topical capsaicin in the therapy of painful osteoarthritis of the hands. J Rheumatol . 1992;19:604-607.
Ellis CN, Berberian B, Sulica VI, et al. A double-blind evaluation of topical capsaicin in pruritic psoriasis. J Am Acad Dermatol . 1993;29:438-442.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031938410004063

Julie Upton

Julie Upton

Julie is a San Francisco-based registered dietitian and nutrition communications specialist. Ms. Upton received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition from Michigan State University and completed her dietetic internship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital. She holds a Master of Science Degree in Nutrition Communications from Boston University and is co-author of The Real Skinny: Appetite for Health’s 101 Fat Habits and Slim Solutions (Penguin 2013). Upton is co-founder of Appetite for Health (www.AppforHealth.com), where she writes daily about nutrition, fitness and health.