Native Americans used cayenne pepper as both food and seasoning for almost 9,000 years. Fast forward to the present and this fiery spice has become a kitchen staple. Besides firing up the palate, studies show cayenne pepper can also speed up metabolism and suppress appetite Reinbach, HC., Smeets, A., Martinussen, T., et al. Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen, Rolighedsvej 30, Frederiksberg C, Denmark. Clinical Nutrition (Edinburgh, Scotland). Jun; 28(3):260-5.

Lightning in a (Spice) Bottle: What It Is

The hot and spicy taste of cayenne pepper comes from , a compound found in many hot peppers. Capsaicin is known to boost , causing the body to produce extra heat and burn more calories for fuel. suggests that after consuming foods with capsaicin, the body’s metabolic rate (aka energy use) can increase percent for up to two hours. Other studies suggest capsaicin also increases fat oxidation, allowing the body to better use fat as fuel RSnitker, S., Fujishima, Y., Shen, H., et al. University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2009 Jan; 89(1):45-50. Chaiyasit, K., Khovidhunkit, W., Wittayalertpanya, S. Inter-department of Pharmacology, Graduate School, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand. 2009 Jan; 92(1):108-13..

But don't just down spices and expect the pounds to melt away. The amount of capsaicin in cayenne is relatively small and won't carry far beyond that two-hour metabolic boost. A more significant effect of cayenne is appetite suppression. It turns out the capsaicin in readily-edible amounts of spice might be cut cravings for fatty, salty, and sweet foods. Muy muy caliente!

Add Some Pep(per) To Your Step: What It Means to You

Eater beware: this hot item comes with some words of caution. Cayenne pepper can of some common medications like aspirin, blood thinning drugs, and antacids. People with latex, banana, avocado, kiwi, or chestnut allergies may also be allergic to cayenne pepper.

Cayenne pepper spices up a wide variety of and , so consider this hot tamale for its powerful kick and potent metabolic punch.

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