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Benefits of Garlic & Cayenne Pepper

author image Clay McNight
Clay McNight is currently a nutrition writer with Demand Media Studios.
Benefits of Garlic & Cayenne Pepper
A knife and cloves of garlic on a cutting board. Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Many cultures have used both garlic and cayenne pepper in traditional medicine for thousands of years. Each of these medicinal foods possesses antioxidant properties that can help protect against cancer. Garlic is most studied for its role in promoting heart health and boosting immune function, whereas cayenne pepper is most known for its potential to induce weight loss and reduce pain.

Survey of Garlic Research

Garlic is an herb with many potential applications, although MedlinePlus rates it as possibly effective for five uses, including high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), colon cancer, tick bites and fungal infections of the skin. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, garlic is most well-known for its role in preventing heart disease, although the evidence in this area is mixed. But garlic does serve as a blood thinner, which in itself can help prevent heart attacks and strokes. Garlic may also have some efficacy in treating the common cold.

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Stimulate Your Immune System with Garlic

A 2001 a paper published in "The Journal of Nutrition" notes that garlic's ability to prevent the growth of cancer cells may be among its most extraordinary benefits. According to the authors, garlic has detoxification properties as well as the potential to stimulate antioxidant compounds. Garlic can also serve as a powerful immune booster, which furthers its efficacy as a cancer preventative. It works by stimulating various white blood cells that fight off infections and disease. When immune system stimulation is maintained, the risk of cancer can be significantly reduced, according to the authors of the study.

Cayenne Pepper for Pain

Capsicum annuum, also known as cayenne pepper, contains a substance known as capsaicin, which has a variety of potential benefits, including pain reduction. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that capsaicin has been used as an oral remedy for poor appetite and stomach problems, as well as to improve circulation. Capsaicin creams are often applied topically to treat psoriasis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, nerve pain, shingles pain after surgery and lower back pain.

Boost Weight Loss with Cayenne

According to a 2011 paper published in the "European Journal of Pharmacology," capsaicinoids, the active substances in cayenne pepper, have a number of health-promoting effects, including anticancer, anti-inflammation, antioxidant and anti-obesity properties. A 2012 paper published in "Appetite" also notes the potential for cayenne and pepper to promote weight loss. Furthermore, the authors mention the ability of capsaicinoids to increase energy output, promote fat burning and reduce appetite. These combined effects can make cayenne pepper a beneficial part of a weight-loss program.

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