Our digestive tract is one of the most underappreciated parts of our bodies. It performs a vitally important role in our everyday lives, being home to trillions of good bacteria which help to break down the food we eat and protect us against infection and illness. Research suggests that our gut acts as a second brain and has a direct connection and impact on our primary (i.e. the one in our heads!) brain.
The gut is also home to around 80 percent of our immune system, so if your gut is in a sorry state, that’s seriously bad news for the rest of your body.
Chances are, your gut is in a sorry state. Modern living seems determined to completely and irreversibly destroy our gut and digestive system. Antibiotics, contraceptive drugs, chronic stress and exposure to toxic chemicals through nasty conventional cosmetics and other environmental sources all conspire to kill off the “good” microscopic friends trying to get in a hard day’s work in your intestines.
The result is that many people have far too few good bacteria in their gut and far too much bad bacteria, setting them up for a myriad of health problems and even disease, including diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, autism, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.
But never fear, we have the solution! Cayenne pepper. Yup, the fiery red powder you occasionally and gingerly sprinkle into your curry or stir fry is highly effective in not only healing your gut but also in remedying many other ailments and annoyances around the rest of your body.
Read on to find out why you need a little more cayenne in your life. Actually, a lot more.
Cayenne pepper fights Candida overgrowth
One of the most common symptoms of an unhealthy gut is the development of Candida issues. Candida albicans is a type of yeast which, under normal conditions, is a necessary component of the gut, helping to assist in nutrient absorption and protecting the intestinal tract from infection.
However, following repeated courses of antibiotics, for example, your population of good gut bacteria becomes depleted and Candida becomes stronger and unhindered, spread upwards through the intestines and beginning to undermine your intestinal wall.
Over time, Candida can penetrate through the gut lining and release its toxic byproducts into your bloodstream, causing all kinds of detrimental autoimmune responses and wreaking havoc on your health.
Luckily, Candida has a natural enemy: cayenne pepper. Cayenne pepper helps to improve metabolism and circulation, cleansing both the liver and the intestines of toxins and thereby helping your body rid itself of the side effects of Candida overgrowth. Cayenne also bolsters your immune system and reduces inflammation, which is both a result of and a contributing factor to Candida.
Cayenne pepper cures stomach ailments
Got a peptic stomach ulcer that’s giving you grief? Cayenne can help with that. Research shows that consuming cayenne pepper acts in two ways to assist with your tummy problem. Firstly, it acts as a local anesthetic on the peptic ulcer, numbing the pain and reducing the amount of discomfort its giving you. Secondly, it can actually stop the bleeding associated with the ulcer, thereby reducing the severity and perseverance of the ulcer.
Cayenne pepper helps digestion
Many people take a cayenne supplement with their meals because it provides an effective means of digesting food more efficiently. Consuming cayenne pepper with food stimulates saliva production, which enables your digestive system to break down food faster and also lubricates its passage through your throat, stomach and intestinal tract.
Cayenne also encourages enzyme production in the stomach, which is essential for your body to break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates and absorb their nutrients. In the same way, cayenne pepper encourages the production of gastric juices, which aid in the body’s ability to metabolize food and toxins.
How to get the most from cayenne
While adding a generous sprinkle of cayenne pepper to your favorite curry every now and then is certainly not a bad thing, to really get the most out of cayenne and nurture your gut, you need to consume it on a regular basis and in larger doses.
To this end, the best thing to do is to pop out to your nearest health store or supermarket and find some capsaicin (the active ingredient in cayenne pepper which gives it all those wonderful health benefits) capsules. The stronger the capsules, the better — just make sure they’re pure capsaicin, and with nothing else added.
And make sure you take them with food, otherwise you’ll get an unpleasant burning sensation in your stomach and throat (it’s potent stuff!).
Another way to harness the healing powers of cayenne pepper is to make a tonic. Squeeze half a fresh lemon and drop half a teaspoon of cayenne into a glass of warm water and mix until combined. It may be a little unpleasant to drink on account of the heat from the cayenne, but it’s a wonderful toxin cleanser and immune system booster.