If you read my article on natural remedies to quit smoking, you’ll recall that I mentioned cayenne pepper but it was a brief mention. My recent research has revealed that cayenne pepper is hugely beneficial to smoking cessation. I publish my findings below:
What Is Cayenne Pepper?
You can call it red hot, long and spicy peppers used by cooks to add colour and flavour to their servings but Wikipedia gives its’ other names as “guinea spice, cow-horn pepper, aleva, bird pepper, or, especially in its powdered form, red pepper.” It agrees it’s a hot chili pepper used to flavour dishes. From this, we can safely say, cayenne peppers are used for both food and medicinal purposes. In this article however, I want to examine cayenne pepper as a quit smoking supplement and detoxification agent.
What Makes Cayenne Pepper Hot?
Most peppers have a special ingredient called capsaicin; it gives peppers their heat. The hotter the pepper the more capsaicin it contains. Cayenne also has a large concentration of vitamins E and vitamin C. These are vital to rebuilding the body after smoking cessation.
Benefits of Cayenne Pepper to Quit Smoking
- Prevents Lung Cancer
This is a major benefit as ex and even present smokers stand at huge risk of contracting lung cancer. An antibacterial agent, cayenne pepper has been established to prevent Lung Cancer. A book titled “Prescription for Herbal Healing” by Phyllis A. Balch published this evidence.
According to the book, “scientists at Loma Linda University in California have found a link between the consumption of hot peppers and the prevention of lung cancer in smokers. Tobacco contains a substance known by the abbreviation NNK that is an important factor in the promotion of lung cancer in smokers. Animal studies have shown that the capsaicin in cayenne peppers stops the activation of NNK and inhibits the tobacco-induced formation of lung tumours. To a lesser extent, capsaicin also protects against the tobacco-induced formation of liver tumours.”
- Helps Raise the Mood
Just like nicotine excites the brain and raises the mood of smokers, a book titled “500 Health Tips” by Gareth Zeal and Hazel Courteney states that “hot spicy foods that include cayenne pepper produce endorphins that help raise mood.” This means smokers can get the same effect nicotine gives them by consuming foods that include cayenne pepper. With this, they’re able to avoid a relapse by overcoming nicotine cravings.
- Helps to Beat Nicotine Cravings
Among many other health benefits, cayenne pepper is said to bring down nicotine cravings. It allegedly does this by making the respiratory system less senstive to tobacco and chemical irritants (this reduces nicotine cravings to a large extent).
- Assists Weight Loss and Curbs the Appetite
Most smokers find that they eat above their normal ration while trying to quit. This happens because of what I’ve decided to call ‘comfort eating.’ They’re trying to comfort themselves with food (an oral therapy – in the same mould as smoking). Due to this, many ex-smokers gain weight while trying to quit but a research conducted at the Laval University in Quebec noted that participants who took cayenne pepper for breakfast had a reduced appetite (and could not eat much throughout the day). This meant fewer calories but even in cases where smokers gained weight, Cayenne was also found to assist the body in burning excess fat. This it does by boosting the metabolism system to perform efficiently.
Another study, led by researcher Richard Mattes, PhD, RD, distinguished professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., supports this body of evidence. The research which is published in “Physiology & Behavior” concludes that cayenne pepper may help burn calories and reduce appetite, particularly in people who are not used to consuming it.
The study discovered that eating food mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper resulted in young adults burning close to 10 more calories over a space of four hours. It’s not the same when they ate the same meal without the red pepper.
- Aids the Detoxification Process
By nature, cayenne pepper stimulates perspiration and the detoxification process. It helps the body excrete the nicotine and other poisons that have built up due to smoking over the years. According to “Prescription for Herbal Healing”, “cayenne is a digestive aid. It stimulates the production of gastric juices, aids metabolism, and relieves gas.” All I can say is, a good digestion system will process food and other consumables promptly and convert the useful ones into the nutrients the body needs and excrete the useless or harmful ones.
How Do I Use Cayenne Pepper to Stop Smoking?
Cayenne pepper comes in various forms: fresh pepper, ground pepper powder, capsule, tea form, etc. One thing experts agree on is that taking cayenne daily is hugely beneficial to quit smoking. They say adding a couple of pinches to your glass of water can be beneficial in more ways than one.
They also talk about drinking a mixture of warm water and ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. They say it is wonderful for the heart and an expectorant for the lungs. Even though it can make you cough (because of its detoxification qualities), it’s advisable to slowly drink this mixture few days after dropping off cigarettes. It can really sustain your health in the long term.
There is a caveat though: don’t use cayenne pepper in any form if you have any sign of stomach ulcers or acidity. Or let me just say, consult your doctor before using cayenne pepper!
Check Out This Cool Video on The Cayenne Pepper Diet
Prescription for Herbal Healing; Phyllis A. Balch; Penguin; January 1, 2002
500 Health Tips; Gareth Zeal, Hazel Courteney; Struik, Apr 1, 2004
Cayenne Pepper May Burn Calories, Curb Appetite; Brenda Goodman, MA; WebMD.com
Feed Your Body With Healthy Alternatives; Brian; iquit-smoking.com
Image Credit: Itsgus