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Cayenne Pepper Detox

author image Fossette Allane
Fossette Allane has been writing about health, food and style since 1997. Her work has been published in newspapers and journals including "The Boston Phoenix" and "FENCE" and on various blogs. She is a licensed clinical social worker with a master's degree from Hunter College and a Bachelor of Arts in theater from Oberlin College. Allane teaches health and wellness to undergraduates.
Cayenne Pepper Detox
Dried cayenne peppers for sale at a market. Photo Credit: TRM_Photography/iStock/Getty Images

A variety of so-called "detox" diets involve taking cayenne pepper, usually in the form of a dried powder mixed with warm water and lemon. While the concoction itself is safe for most people in moderation, and may provide some health benefits, taking cayenne pepper while eliminating or severely restricting solid foods poses a serious risk to your health. Consult with your doctor before beginning any type of detox diet.

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Cayenne Pepper Detox

Many cayenne pepper detox diets involve ingesting cayenne pepper for a period of days or weeks while eliminating or severely restricting the intake of solid foods. Some cayenne pepper diets may allow you to eat raw fruits and vegetables after an initial "cleansing" period. Cayenne pepper detox may be attractive to those who want to lose weight quickly, or to become thinner without making long-term lifestyle changes.

About Cayenne Pepper

For centuries, cultures around the world have used cayenne pepper medicinally. It is an effective topical pain reliever thanks to the chemical component capsaicin. Capsaicin works as a counterirritant, making the brain less receptive to pain. Cayenne also appears to temporarily warm the body and help break down carbohydrates, two factors that could aid weight-loss as part of a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins and nutrients. Research in this area is ongoing and, as of yet, inconclusive.

About Detoxification

Detoxification is a process by which your body rids itself of waste materials. Harvard Medical School reports that the body's natural detoxification system is adequate for this task and that detox diets are unnecessary. If you are a heavy drinker, smoker or substance user or abuser, or eat large quantities of junk food, you may be taxing your natural detoxification systems. But even in these circumstances, changing your lifestyle will make a greater impact on your health than doing a cayenne pepper detox.

Risks and Benefits

A detox diet allows you to achieve rapid weight loss by triggering frequent bowel movements during a period of low caloric intake. It is unsustainable because humans need a variety of nutritious foods to live. When the detox ends you quickly regain the weight. No evidence suggests that cayenne pepper detox diets enhance your health. However, cayenne pepper can be part of a healthy, well-balanced diet. Some people enjoy the fiery dimension it brings to cooked food or enjoy it raw as part of spicy salsa. The common detox beverage of cayenne pepper, lemon juice and water can be warming, hydrating and a healthy alternative to sugary beverages.

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