A lot of people prefer a little spice added to their meals. It gives them that special taste no other flavor can provide. Some like it is a bit hotter and spicier than others for the mere excitement of tasting something that is “off the hook” spicy. The Scoville scale, used to measure the spiciness of the food, can be beneficial in identifying which foods has the highest level of spiciness. But what makes foods particularly spicy? What is Capsaicin?
Capsaicin is a component in foods that gives it the spicy flavor. Capsaicin is a molecular compound usually found in spicy peppers (except bell peppers) lending it the spicy taste peppers are most associated with. There are a lot of YouTube videos showing spicy challenges from different parts of the world by people from all walks of life. The main point of these videos lends credence to the assumption that a lot of people just love to eat spicy food. Aside from the obvious culinary considerations of Capsaicin, there are also some identified health benefits in the consumption and usage of this spicy component.
The Health Benefits of Capsaicin
Mostly used for its culinary contribution of spiciness to meals and food items, capsaicin also has a number of health benefits. Listed below are some of the said Health Benefits:
Capsaicin may aid in treating cancer
Cancer or the Big C can afflict anyone of any age, regardless of gender and nationality. While research suggests that the predictability of having cancer can be traced back to an individual’s family genetics, people can and still get cancer from other lifestyle choices. These are smoking and exposure to other hazardous chemicals.
Capsaicin has a powerful effect over cancer cells as it can stop the proliferation and further spread of cancer cells. It was found to be particularly helpful against the spread of prostate cancer, gastric cancer, breast cancer cells, and shrinking lung tumors. All in all, capsaicin has shown that it has numerous health benefits in the fight against cancer. It also helps in shrinking tumors, preventing the spread of cancer cells and even killing of some specific type of cancer cells.
Capsaicin may help in relieving cluster headaches
Cluster headaches are headaches that occur from six (6) to twelve (12) weeks and are extremely painful and highly debilitating. During this period, the quality of life of people afflicted with cluster headaches is adversely affected. This may result in depression and mental distress. Capsaicin may help relieve the pain during these bouts of cluster headaches. Applying capsaicin cream on the temples have been found to significantly decrease the severity and length of headaches.
It may aid in relieving pain
The pain relieving properties of Capsaicin has been well documented. Scientists are currently uncovering more information on how Capsaicin acts as a pain reliever. Capsaicin is primarily used for joint pains usually caused by osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.
Capsaicin may help treat psoriasis
It has also been shown to effectively address skin conditions and irritations like psoriasis. Applying capsaicin to affected skin areas were shown to significantly decrease breakouts of psoriasis over a period of time.
It may help control blood sugar levels and manage diabetes
Diabetes is now one of the world’s worst and prevalent illness affecting more and more people each year. Our society is exposed to a high fructose and sugar diet. Couple it with a sedentary lifestyle, we can claim that we are indeed facing an epidemic in terms of diabetes and obesity. Consuming significant amounts of foods with capsaicin may increase the body’s chances to control blood sugar and insulin production. Therefore, it improves the management of diabetes. Other diabetes complications such as neuropathy can also be addressed by the pain relieving properties of capsaicin. It helps decrease the reaction of pain receptors of the neuropathy affected limb.
Capsaicin can complement an individual’s weight loss efforts
Consuming Capsaicin-rich foods can aid an individual’s weight loss efforts. Adding capsaicin-rich food items can help boost metabolism, speed up digestion and even limit or suppress the urge to eat. It is best to do this with regular exercise and a nutritious diet. This potent combination of boosts and appetite control can surely aid individuals in their efforts to lose weight.
Things to Consider Before Using Capsaicin as a Health Supplement
As with any other health supplement, there are some things to look out for in connection with the use of Capsaicin. Below are some things to consider:
Before regularly incorporating capsaicin into your health routine, it may be best to seek medical opinion from your doctor first. Your Medical Practitioner partner can specifically identify your unique medical condition. They can give the recommended dose of supplemental medicine to address any ailments or nutritional deficiencies.
Patients should check for any possible reactions before going for capsaicin supplementation. Allergies can present other adverse effects for the user. It is recommended to try on small portions of creams containing capsaicin on the skin to test for any allergic reactions prior to actual full blown use.
Not a Miracle Cure
The health benefits of capsaicin are well documented. However, patients are encouraged not to think of supplements as a magic bullet or miracle cure to treat their illnesses. Patients who require specific medication should continue their intake of such as recommended by a medical professional and only use supplements such as capsaicin to complement and add to the medical benefits of their prescribed treatment.
The benefits of capsaicin go beyond the culinary taste buds and the kitchens of families all around the world. Its health benefits should be used to the advantage of ailing patients especially since these alternative supplements are more natural and present fewer risks to patients than man-made artificial pharmaceutical products.