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Cayenne Pepper Benefits that Make You Healthier | Reader's Digest – Telegraph

Relieve achy joints and muscles

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The first of many cayenne pepper benefits is that it helps to relieve achy joints and muscles. Capsaicin, the substance that gives cayenne its spicy taste, is the active ingredient in many over-the-counter treatments for arthritis and muscle pain. Over time, it short-circuits pain by depleting nerve cells of a chemical called substance P, which helps transfer pain signals along nerve endings to the brain. Mix a few dashes of ground cayenne with 2-3 teaspoons of olive oil. Apply it with gauze to unbroken skin at painful joints several times a day. The first few doses will cause a mild burning sensation, but you’ll become desensitized after a week or so. Keep away from the mouth, eyes, and other mucous membranes. (These foods are way more nutritious than you thought.)

Boost your calorie burning potential

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In a six-week study of 25 non-overweight adults, two Purdue researchers found cayenne helped increase study participants’ body temperatures and the amount of calories they burned. Just a half of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper along with a meal can help suppress appetite and burn calories. Interestingly, study subjects who reported they did not prefer or regularly use the spice before the test got the biggest benefits: reduced appetites and a decreased craving for salty, fatty, or sweet foods.

Unclog a stuffy nose

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Capsaicin is a powerful decongestant. It stimulates the release of mucus from respiratory passages and opens your airways. Sprinkle it on food (it pairs surprisingly well with chicken noodle soup) and grab some tissues. (There are many cayenne pepper benefits that you can reap, but can you handle the world's hottest pepper?)

Reduce blood sugar levels

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A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people with diabetes who ate a meal containing liberal amounts of chile pepper required less insulin to reduce their blood sugar afterward, which suggests the spice could have anti-diabetes benefits.

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Improve psoriasis symptoms

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A double-blind study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology evaluated the topical application of capsaicin in treating psoriasis. Researchers found that it significantly improved itching and other symptoms associated with psoriasis. (Watch out for these surprisingly "healthy" foods that you actually need to avoid.)

Boost circulation

Yulia 1971/ShutterstockBecause cayenne improves blood flow, it is also helpful in conjunction with other medications or supplements if you have circulation issues. Research in the U.S. National Library of Medicine also shows that capsaicin helps to lower blood pressure. (Try incorporating these other foods that improve circulation in your diet.)

Helps with bad breath

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Another one of the many cayenne pepper benefits is that it helps with bad breath. Cayenne pepper helps to produce saliva in our mouths with is essential in preventing bad breath. It keeps the mouth moist. A dry mouth leads to bad breath. (These common food myths are wildly untrue.)

Good source of vitamin A

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Cayenne pepper is a good source of vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to maintain healthy vision, improve brain function, boost immunity, promote fast cell growth, and maintain healthy skin. It's an antioxidant that works to reduce inflammation by fighting free radicals. Having just two teaspoons of cayenne pepper every day will get you your recommended amount of vitamin A.

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Aids digestion

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Stated as one of the other cayenne pepper benefits, they help to produce saliva. When the salivary glands are stimulated it starts the digestive process. Cayenne pepper then helps to start the flow of enzymes, which makes the digestive system work properly. It also helps to stimulate gastric juices, which help the body metabolize food and toxins.

Check out the best healthy eating tips you can follow.