A little spicy water may offer a big boost to your health. The benefits of cayenne pepper are many. Cayenne pepper water usually refers to a tea made with water, cayenne pepper and lemon juice, served warm or iced.
Consider sipping on this mixture on a regular basis, especially if you want better metabolic health, steady weight and improved protection against disease.
Cayenne pepper water offers potential benefits that include reduced appetite, improved metabolic and gastrointestinal health, and potential protection against cancer.
About Cayenne Pepper and Capsaicin
Cayenne pepper adds a kick to many savory dishes, but you can guarantee a regular intake by creating a cayenne pepper tea. The benefits of cayenne pepper stem from the active component, a chemical compound known as capsaicin. Cayenne pepper, the powdered red pepper, has concentrations of capsaicinoids typically at 2,500 micrograms per gram.
The hotness of cayenne pepper is measured by the Scoville heat scale, which evaluates the heat units of the peppers according to the amount of capsaicin they contain. Pure capsaicin is at the top of the scale with 16 million heat units, and bell peppers have zero. Cayenne pepper has 5,000 to 25,000 heat units and is considered at the top end of "mild" peppers.
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Large amounts of capsaicin could be toxic if ingested, but the amount found in cayenne is so small that you're really not at risk of harm from drinking cayenne pepper water. Open Heart published research in June 2015 reporting that rodents find significant benefit from capsaicin intakes in the range of 0.01 to 0.02 percent of diet. The researchers surmise that dosages in the range of 20 to 40 milligrams may be appropriate for most people.
Depending on your tolerance, too much cayenne can cause mouth pain and gastric upset. You may find it most comfortable to gradually add cayenne pepper drinks to your diet before going to a high dose to acclimate your body.
Appetite Suppression and Detox Support
Cayenne pepper can act as an appetite suppressant, reducing hunger so you eat less and feel full for longer. A study in Appetite published in June 2014 found that adding capsaicin to your diet increases feelings of satisfaction and fullness, which can prevent overeating. The study used capsaicin pills at a dose of about 1.03 grams of red chili pepper with 39,050 Scoville heat units at each meal for 36 hours; you could easily consume this amount in a cayenne pepper drink.
Cayenne pepper benefits include its ability to stimulate circulation and eliminate acidity in the body. A paper in Critical Reviews of Food Science and Nutrition published in July 2016 detailed multiple benefits of consuming cayenne pepper, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Support for the Metabolic System
Cayenne pepper also has beneficial effects on the metabolic system, according to research presented in the Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences in May 2018. Metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by high blood sugar levels, high lipid levels, high blood pressure and obesity, puts you at a greater risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions.
Red pepper, in the form of cayenne, has the ability to control metabolic syndrome and its related disorders such as obesity and diabetes. Cayenne pepper may even be able to decrease the risk of mortality due to cardiovascular diseases. The researchers came to this conclusion after reviewing a number of animal and human studies.
Capsaicin in cayenne pepper water even has potential to help combat obesity. Research published in Pharmacognosy Review in the January-June 2017 issue concluded that consumption of the capsaicin cayenne can help induce weight loss and breakdown of fat cells, improve feelings of fullness, increase your ability to burn calories and cause you to reduce calorie and fat intake.
The review stated that capsaicin consumption may be useful in obesity therapy. Exactly how much cayenne pepper water you'd need to drink to have a positive effect isn't clear, however.
Cayenne Pepper Water Benefits Digestion
Cayenne pepper may help improve your digestive health. The paper in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition also concluded that cayenne pepper is a powerful gastrointestinal stimulant that can increase your digestive tract's ability to receive and process micronutrients. The capsaicin in cayenne also boosts gastric blood flow to help heal gastric ulcers.
Another bit of research in the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine published in June 2016 noted other gastrointestinal benefits that can be attributed to more than 200 constituents in capsaicin. These include stimulation of digestion, reduction of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) symptoms and inhibition of pathogens that can cause infection in the digestive tract. Capsaicin may even inhibit development of ulcers and cancer.
The paper does note that more research is needed to determine the right dosage of cayenne to provide these benefits.
Cardiovascular and Anti-Cancer Benefits
Cayenne pepper water may have a cardio protective element, too, as it can help dilate blood vessels. This makes blood flow more freely, boosting circulation. The means a possible boost in your cardiovascular health. Open Heart published a review of research in June 2015 that capsaicin in cayenne can improve dilation of blood vessels (in a rodent study) and may discourage plaque formation that can lead to clogged arteries.
The review also noted that rodent studies have also shown capsaicin has a positive effect on atherosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and stroke. Again, the paper called for additional research on the amount of capsaicin needed to promote this optimal vascular and metabolic health. It's simply not clear how much cayenne pepper water you'd need to drink to get the benefits.
Read more: How Can I Tell When My Body is Hydrated?
Anticancer Research published evidence in March 2016 about the potential anti-cancer properties in cayenne pepper due to the presence of capsaicin. Capsaicin, as a bioactive phytochemical, alters the expression of several genes involved in cancer cell survival, metastasis and growth. Capsaicin actually prompts tumor-suppressing genes to go into action, possibly helping prevent onset of the mutagenic disease.
Again, research on the anti-cancer potential of cayenne pepper and its primary active component of capsaicin is in its early stages. Recommendations for the best way to take cayenne — whether through water, capsules or another means — and the amount to take have not been made.
- Open Heart: "Capsaicin May Have Important Potential for Promoting Vascular and Metabolic Health"
- Appetite: "Capsaicin Increases Sensation of Fullness in Energy Balance, and Decreases Desire to Eat After Dinner in Negative Energy Balance"
- Pharmacognosy Review: "Current Understanding of Antiobesity Property of Capsaicin"
- Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine: "Phytochemistry and Gastrointestinal Benefits of the Medicinal Spice Capsicum annuum L. (Chilli): A Review"
- Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition: “Biological Activities of Red Pepper (Capsicum annuum) and Its Pungent Principle Capsaicin: A Review”
- AntiCancer Research: "Anticancer Properties of Capsaicin Against Human Cancer"
- Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences: "A Review of the Effects of Capsicum annuum L. and Its Constituent, Capsaicin, in Metabolic Syndrome"
- American Chemical Society: Chem Matters: "Hot Peppers"
- Folia Veterinaria: "Determination of Capsaicin Content and Pungency Level of Different Fresh and Dried Chilli Peppers"