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The truth about the effect of Cayenne Pepper on digestion

Cayenne Pepper: The Key to Good Digestion?

Andréanne Tremblay-Lebeau

Andréanne Tremblay-Lebeau

Healthy eating:

Registered Dietitian

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We often hear people talking about the miraculous effects of Cayenne pepper on the digestive system, but is there any truth to the stories? Let’s explore it further…

Cayenne pepper, named after the city Cayenne in French Guiana, contains capsaicin, an active compound responsible for the burning sensation we feel when we eat foods that contain it. Cayenne and capsaicin have long been revered by various cultures for their health benefits—they are thought to have an analgesic and therapeutic effect, to improve digestion, to improve tolerance to heat, and more. But what do they really do?

The burning sensation of Cayenne may suggest it is bad for our bodies and digestive systems. It has also been linked to causing or worsening peptic ulcers. Studies show, however, that the opposite may be true. In healthy people, capsaicin does not cause damage to the digestive system. In fact, it seems to stimulate the secretion of acids that could help and even cure peptic ulcers.

Capsaicin is also thought to stimulate salivation, which could aid digestion since saliva contains an enzyme that triggers the chemical digestion of certain carbohydrates. Another study suggests that the consumption of Cayenne may reduce the intensity of symptoms of dyspepsia (impaired gastric function or “upset stomac”).

If you are taking medication or have health problems, talk to your doctor before increasing your intake of Cayenne pepper. And don’t forget to wash your hands after handling hot peppers or any other ingredients that contain pepper—you don’t want to learn the hard way if it gets into your eyes!

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Amanda Riva

Amanda Riva

Professional Recipe Developer & Owner of The Hot Plate.

Professional Recipe Developer & Owner of The Hot Plate. Saveur Magazine named Amanda one of North America’s Top 100 Home Cooks at the age of 20. Since then she’s started her own full service test kitchen to help brands like Danone create mouth-watering recipes designed for home cooks. Amanda’s goal is to help inspire culinary confidence. Whether she’s contributing to the Food Network, Huffington Post or Kin Community; Amanda is always looking for new ways to help home cooks rediscover mealtime using quality ingredients. You can watch Amanda on her online cooking show, The Hot Plate, on her website and YouTube page.

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Andréanne Tremblay-Lebeau

Andréanne Tremblay-Lebeau

Registered Dietitian

Andreanne earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nutrition from the Université de Montréal. As a registered dietitian, she specializes in healthy weight management, healthy eating, nutrition education and cooking. She has shared her passion for food by contributing to the writing of the Québec Celiac Foundation cookbook in Montréal and by giving cooking workshops for primary school children and university students.

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