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Cayenne pepper belongs to the chili pepper family and contains the compound capsaicin, which is responsible for its burning heat as well as its health benefits, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Besides being a great source of vitamin A, cayenne pepper also has anti-inflammatory properties. Although the burning sensation of cayenne pepper can be a bit too much for some, taking cayenne pepper extract can provide the same health effects without the fiery heat.

Gastric Ulcer Protection

In findings reported to the 2006 journal of “Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition,” researchers reviewed the literature regarding the relationship between capsaicin and Helicobacter Pylori, which has found to be the main cause of gastric ulcers. Although capsaicin was first seen as a risk factor for increasing gastric ulcers, scientists have concluded that capsaicin might have beneficial effects on preventing and healing of ulcers. Scientists found that capsaicin stimulates alkali and reduces acid secretion, which inhibits Helicobacter Pylori ability to cause gastric ulcers. The researchers also noted that epidemiologic surveys found that the Chinese are three times more likely to develop ulcers than the Malaysians, who consume more chili peppers compared to the Chinese.

Weight Loss

In a 1999 study conducted by the University of Tsukuba and published in the “British Journal of Nutrition,” researchers examined the impact of red pepper on appetite and energy intake. They discovered that participants adding red pepper to breakfast consumed fewer calories throughout the rest of the day. Scientists noted that red pepper increases satiety, which boosts weight loss by lowering calorie intake. Although these results are promising, further research is needed.

Cutaneous Disorders and Neural Dysfunction

Researchers analyzed the effects of capsaicin as a treatment for painful and itching cutaneous disorders stemming from operations and neural dysfunction or inflammation of the urinary tract and airways, according to research reported in the 1998 issue of “Clinical Journal of Pain.” Scientists observed that capsaicin is effective for reducing symptoms associated with cutaneous disorders and neural dysfunction.