If you can handle the heat, drinking water with added cayenne pepper may provide a healthy boost. While this beverage won't perform any cleansing or weight-loss miracles, cayenne is high in nutrients yet low in calories and may even perk up your metabolism slightly. The heat from cayenne comes from a substance called capsaicin, which is sometimes used as a topical pain reliever.
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One tablespoon of cayenne pepper provides 44 percent of the daily value for vitamin A, which you need for a healthy immune system and sharp vision. It also contains 8 percent of the DV for vitamin E and 7 percent of the DV for vitamin C. Cayenne is also rich in flavonoids, which are antioxidants that help protect cells from free-radical damage. Although more research is needed, evidence shows that flavonoid intake is linked to reduced risk of heart disease, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.
Although it's no substitute for a healthy diet, the capsaicin in cayenne water could help you lose weight. In a study published in the journal "Appetite" in 2012, researchers reviewed existing trials and found that people who took capsaicinoids burned an extra 50 calories per day, had reduced belly fat and ate fewer calories. Although study authors weren't sure exactly how capsaicin works, they noted that it may aid in weight loss by increasing energy expenditure and fat burning while reducing appetite.
Drinking cayenne water contributes to proper hydration, helping your body run at peak performance. Your body is about 60 percent water, and you need a constant supply of liquids to regulate body temperature, lubricate your joints, nourish your cells and aid in digestion. Per Institute of Medicine Guidelines, most men should drink about 13 cups of total fluids per day, while women should drink about 9 cups per day. With exercise or hot weather, you may need even more.
Although cayenne is generally considered safe, too much of it irritates the stomach and may cause abdominal pain. This may be especially troublesome for people with ulcers or other digestive problems. In addition, capsaicin may interact with certain medications, such as those used to treat high blood pressure or diabetes, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. If you're taking any prescription or nonprescription drugs, or if you have any medical conditions, see your doctor before drinking cayenne water.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Cayenne
- Medical News Today: What Are the Benefits of Cayenne?
- Appetite: Capsaicinoids and Capsinoids. A Potential Role for Weight Management? A Systematic Review of the Evidence
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin A
- Linus Pauling Institute: Antioxidant Activities of Flavonoids
- University of Rochester Medical Center: Why Your Body Needs Water
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes: Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate