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Healthily Spice Up Your Life With Cayenne Peppers

How well can you take your heat? For those who love their spices, there may be additional benefits to eating something hot than just the taste alone! We all know that herbs and spices are an inexpensive, low calorie way to help create a delicious meal, but did you know that spices like cayenne pepper are actually considered one of the most beneficial ingredients you can add to almost any dish?

The biggest advantage to eating cayenne might be that it can potentially help you control your weight. The spice has been linked to curbing your appetite, as a study conducted at the Maanstricht University in the Netherlands found that when test subjects had a spicy appetizer, they ate less by 10-16%!

And while cayenne may be helping you eat less, it might also be working to help you digest better too. Cayenne contains a phytochemical called capsaicin, which is a strong anti-bacterial compound that helps boost metabolism. The chemical assists in stimulating your digestive tract, increasing the flow of enzyme production and gastric juices.

Other than helping to keep your body looking fit, cayenne can do a number of other functions too! Like helping with various internal circulations like blood and mucus. Regular blood circulation can help reduce blood clots, while mucus circulation is important for lubrication in your body.  

Bonus gain to proper mucus circulation: if your sinuses ever feel stuffed during a cold or flu, eat something with cayenne pepper and breathe again!

Quick Home tip: In the kitchen, cayenne is an excellent preservative and has been used traditionally to prevent food contamination from bacteria.

Cayenne peppers are an excellent ingredient because they are versatile. When fresh, they are used in a similar fashion to jalapeños: as a garnish or chopped up and added to dips, sauces and soups. When you use cayenne dried it can be a good marinade on almost any meats and vegetables. You can even add the spice to something sweet like hot cocoa for a bit of a kick!  

A common and popular dish that uses cayenne peppers is blackened chicken, here is a simple recipe you can try at home to incorporate more spices into your diet. The blackening method can also work on fishes and other meats too.  

Ingredients:

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/8  teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 ground white pepper

2 skinless, boneless, chicken breast halves

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat for 5 minutes until it is smoking hot.
  2. Mix together paprika, salt, cayenne, cumin, thyme, white pepper, and onion powder. Oil the chicken breasts with cooking spray on both sides, then coat the chicken breasts evenly with the spice mixture.
  3. Place the chicken in the hot pan, and cook for 1 minute. Turn, and cook 1 minute on other side. Place the breasts on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake in the oven until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, about 5 minutes.

 

Reference:

Group, Edward. "17 Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper." Dr Groups Natural Health Organic Living Blog. 21 June 2010. Web. 29 Feb. 2016. <http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/benefits-of-cayenne-pepper/>.

Karena. "Blackened Chicken Recipe." Allrecipes. Web. 29 Feb. 2016. <http://allrecipes.com/recipe/8571/blackened-chicken/>.

Mercola, Joseph. "New Year, Younger You -- 20 Anti-Aging Herbs and Spices to Add to Your Diet." Mercola.com. 8 Jan. 2009. Web. 29 Feb. 2016. <http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/01/08/new-year-younger-you-20-anti-aging-herbs-and-spices-to-add-to-your-diet.aspx>.

Mercola, Joseph. "Spice Up Your Health." Mercola.com. 15 Apr. 2010. Web. 29 Feb. 2016. <http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/04/15/spice-up-your-health.aspx>.

Shea, Taylor. "6 Spicy Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper." Readers Digest. Web. 29 Feb. 2016. <http://www.rd.com/health/conditions/health-benefits-cayenne-pepper/>.

Weil, Andrew. "Cooking With Spices: Cayenne Pepper." Dr. Weil's Healthy Kitchen. Web. 29 Feb. 2016. <http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03463/Cooking-With-Spices-Cayenne-Pepper.html>.

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