Cayenne

Cayenne Pepper Benefits Your Gut, Heart & Beyond

Cayenne pepper benefits - Dr. AxeMany of us have used cayenne pepper to add a little spice to our meals, but did you know that it has the power to change your health? It has been used for both food and medicine for the last 9,000 years! Cayenne pepper can stimulate your body’s circulation and reduce acidity; it’s a powerful, spicy little pepper that offers many health benefits.Cayenne pepper is typically added to food in either its natural or powdered form, and some people use it as a cream or capsule in order to take advantage of its detoxifying properties.

FREE Recipe Guide: Click here for a spicy roasted pumpkin seed recipe!

Cayenne pepper benefits are numerous and effective; it’s used to help digestion, including heal upset stomach, slow intestinal gas, stop stomach pain, stop diarrhea and as a natural remedy for cramps. It’s also used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels — including to improve poor circulation, reverse excessive blood clotting, lower high cholesterol and prevent heart disease.

When consumed, cayenne pepper has the power to relieve a toothache, seasickness, alcoholism, malaria and fever; it’s also used to help people who have difficulty swallowing. When applied topically, cayenne pepper benefits the skin, too.

The fruit of the capsicum plant contains a chemical called capsaicin. Using capsaicin for different health ailments is more common than ever. Currently, it’s being studied to test its ability to reduce pain sensations when applied to the skin, and research indicates that it would be effective as a remedy for headaches (including migraines), potential solution for osteoarthritis and other painful conditions.


Cayenne Pepper Nutrition Facts

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Cayenne is a shrub that originated in Central and South America and now grows in subtropical and tropical climates. Its hollow fruit grows into long pods that turn red, orange or yellow when they ripen. Cayenne chili peppers (or Capsicum frutescens) belong to the genus Capsicum and come from a similar cultivar of Capsicum annuum. Capsicum is an herb, and the fruit of the capsicum plant is used to make medicine.

The pepper also contains vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E, potassium, manganese and flavonoids – which provides its powerful antioxidantproperties. On the Scoville Rating Scale, cayenne pepper is rated typically anywhere from 30,000 to 190,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). (Pure capsaicin has the highest SHU rating.)

Here are the cayenne pepper nutrition facts, listed in recommended daily values; 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper contains:

  • 17 calories
  • 1 gram of fat
  • 2 milligrams sodium
  • 3 grams carbohydrate
  • 1 gram dietary fiber
  • 1 gram sugar
  • 1 gram protein
  • 44 percent vitamin A
  • 8 percent vitamin E
  • 7 percent vitamin C
  • 6 percent vitamin B6
  • 5 percent vitamin K
  • 5 percent manganese
  • 3 percent potassium
  • No cholesterol

Cayenne pepper nutrition - Dr. Axe


15 Cayenne Pepper Benefits

1. Helps Digestion 

One of the major cayenne pepper benefits is the positive effect it has on the digestive system. Cayenne pepper helps produce saliva, which is important for excellent digestion as well as preventing bad breath. Consuming cayenne pepper stimulates our salivary glands, which is needed to begin the digestive process. (1)

Cayenne pepper also stimulates the flow of enzyme production, which is essential for our digestive system to work properly. It also stimulates gastric juices that aid the body’s ability to metabolize food and toxins. (2)

2. Relieves Migraine Pain 

Researchers suggest that cayenne pepper, due to its spice, is able to stimulate a pain response in a different part of the body. Once this happens, the brain puts its attention on that new site and will no longer concentrate on the pain in the head, which causes the migraine headache.

After this initial pain reaction from the cayenne pepper, the nerve fibers have a depleted substance P, or pain chemical, and the sensation of pain is lessened. You are basically tricking your body to “feel pain” somewhere else, so that the head is no longer the main focus for pain chemicals. (34)

3. Prevents Blood Clots

Blood clots are blockages in your arteries and blood vessels that limit blood flow through your circulatory system. Cayenne encourages fibrinolytic activity and helps prevent blood clots. This is also the reason why cayenne pepper is effective in preventing heart attacks. The capsaicin in cayenne pepper helps to clear away artery-narrowing lipid deposits, and dilates arteries and blood vessels to clear away clots. (56)

4. Provides Detox Support 

Cayenne pepper benefits include its ability to stimulate circulation and eliminate acidity. Cayenne pepper restores the circulatory system by opening the capillaries and regulating blood sugar; it also helps the digestive system that moves bacteria and toxins out of the body. Cayenne pepper also increases body temperature and boosts your metabolism. (78)

5. Relieves Joint and Nerve Pain 

Cayenne power has very powerful pain-relieving properties when applied to the skin. It reduces the amount of substance P, a chemical that carries pain messages to the brain. When there is less substance P, the pain messages no longer reach the brain and you feel relief.

Studies have found that cayenne pepper relieves pain after surgery, such as a mastectomy or an amputation. It also alleviates pain from nerve damage in the feet or legs from diabetes, lower back injuries, neuropathy, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as fibromyalgia symptoms like joint or muscle pain. (9)

6. Supports Weight Loss 

Studies have found that consuming cayenne pepper for breakfast creates less appetite, so people eat less calories during the day. It also burns excess fat because it’s a metabolic booster. As one of the key anti-inflammatory foods, cayenne pepper benefits also include weight loss. Cayenne pepper has the power to soothe inflammation and bloating that comes from allergies, food sensitivities and infections. (28)

7. Works as Anti-Irritant 

Cayenne pepper benefits include its anti-irritant properties, making it effective in easing ulcers, upset stomachs, cough and even potentially stop diarrhea. The common belief is that cayenne pepper, when consumed in excessive amounts, leads to gastric ulcers because of its irritant and acid-secreting nature. People with ulcers are actually advised to limit or avoid using cayenne pepper; however, investigations carried out in recent years have revealed that chili, or its active principle “capsaicin,” is not the cause for the formation of ulcer symptoms but a benefactor.

Studies have found that cayenne pepper does not stimulate, but inhibits acid secretion, stimulates alkali and mucus secretions and particularly gastric mucosal blood flow, which helps in the prevention and healing of ulcers. (9)

 

15 cayenne pepper benefits - Dr. Axe

 

8. Treats Psoriasis

Psoriasis occurs when skin cells replicate too quickly, and it results in swollen patches under the skin covered with whitish scales on top. The scaly patches are areas of inflammation and excessive skin production.

Two trials showed that 0.025 percent capsaicin (cayenne pepper) cream used topically is effective in treating psoriasis. The first study showed a significant decrease in scaling and redness during a six-week period in 44 patients with moderate and severe psoriasis. The second was a double-blind study of 197 patients; psoriasis was treated with the capsaicin cream four times daily for six weeks, with a significant decrease in scaling, thickness, redness and itching. (10)

9. Boosts Metabolism 

Cayenne pepper benefits also include its ability to regulate your metabolism. Cayenne pepper has been found to effectively suppress hunger and normalize glucose levels. It keeps blood pressure levels normalized, and helps the body lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. (1112)

10. Fights Cold and Flu 

Cayenne pepper benefits include being full of beta carotene and antioxidants that support your immune system. It aids in breaking up and moving congested mucus, and once this nasty mucus leaves the body, the symptoms of the flu or cold will diminish. Besides helping as a natural remedy for the flu, cayenne pepper also raises your body temperature, which makes you sweat and increases the activity of your immune system. As a vitamin C food, cayenne pepper may also help you to kick that nasty cold.

11. Source of Vitamin A

Vitamin A plays a critical role in maintaining healthy vision, neurological function and healthy skin; it is an antioxidant that reduces inflammation by fighting free radicalsStudies have repeatedly shown that antioxidants like vitamin A are vital to good health and longevity; they benefit eye health, boost immunity and foster cell growth. (13)

Lucky for us, cayenne pepper is a great source of vitamin A; in fact, with just two teaspoons of cayenne pepper, you are getting your fill of vitamin A for the day!

12. Contains Vitamin E

Vitamin E benefits include helping many organs in the body function properly and is extremely useful in naturally slowing the aging process. This important and beneficial vitamin has the power to balance cholesterol, fight free radicals, repair damaged skin, balance hormones, repair damaged skin and hair, improve vision and increase energy levels … and cayenne pepper is an important provider of vitamin E.

13. Prevents Allergies  

Because cayenne is an anti-inflammatory agent, it has the power to prevent allergies and the symptoms related to allergies. A food allergy, for example, is a measurable response to consuming a specific food. Food allergies, or intolerances, can be caused by a condition known as leaky gut (intestinal permeability), when proteins and food particles pass through the gut and cause systemic body inflammation.

Leaky gut is like having the gates broken from your intestines to your bloodstream so that toxins, microbes and undigested food particles can now get through. (Take my leaky gut test if you want to know if you have it.) When this happens, it causes inflammation throughout your body, leading to a variety of diseases.

14. Possible Anti-Cancer Agent 

Studies suggest that capsaicin may have a role as a natural remedy for cancer, including in the management of prostate cancer. One study conducted at University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine found that this important ingredient in cayenne pepper is able to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and prevent the activation of new dangerous formations. (14)

There is also data from California’s Loma Linda University that suggests that cayenne pepper benefits include being effective in helping prevent lung cancer in smokers. Cayenne pepper’s high amounts of capsaicin serves as a substance that can stop the formation of tobacco induced tumors in the lung. Similar effects have also been found in liver tumors when they were exposed to cayenne pepper.

15. Anti-Fungal Properties

The final cayenne pepper benefit is its ability to kill fungus and prevent the formation of fungal pathogens. Cayenne pepper was investigated to determine its in vitro antifungal activity, and the results found that it was active against 16 different fungal strains, including Candida.

Candida is a fungus that aids with nutrient absorption and digestion, when in proper levels in the body. When it overproduces, however, the typical candida symptoms may appear; this includes hormone imbalance, joint pain, digestive problems and a weak immune system.

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Pistachios

Pistachios are a great source of healthy fats, fiber,proteinantioxidants and various nutrients, including vitamin B6 and potassium. Their health benefits may include a healthier gut, lower cholesterol and blood sugar, in addition to promoting weight loss and eye and blood vessel

9 Health Benefits of Pistachios

Not only are pistachio nuts tasty and fun to eat, they’re also super healthy.

Technically a fruit, these edible seeds of the Pistacia vera tree contain healthy fats and are a good source of protein, fiber and antioxidants.

They also contain several essential nutrients and have benefits for weight loss, as well as heart and gut health.

Interestingly, people have been eating pistachios since 7,000 BC. Nowadays, they’re very popular in many dishes, including ice cream and desserts (1).

Here are 9 evidence-based health benefits of pistachios.

1. Loaded With Nutrients

Pistachios are very nutritious, with a one-ounce (28-gram) serving of about 49 pistachios containing the following (2):

  • Calories: 156
  • Carbs: 8 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Fat: 12 grams (90% are healthy fats)
  • Potassium: 8% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 14% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 24% of the RDI
  • Thiamin: 16% of the RDI
  • Copper: 18% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 17% of the RDI

Notably, pistachios are one of the most vitamin B6-rich foods around.

Vitamin B6 is important for several functions, including blood sugar regulation and the formation of hemoglobin, a molecule that carries oxygen in red blood cells.

Pistachios are also rich in potassium, with one ounce containing more potassium than half of a large banana (3).

SUMMARY:Pistachios are high in protein, fiber and antioxidants. They also have several other important nutrients, including vitamin B6 and potassium.

2. High in Antioxidants

Antioxidants are vital to your health.

They prevent cell damage and play a key role in reducing the risk of disease, such as cancer.

Pistachios contain more antioxidants than most nuts and seeds. In fact, only walnuts and pecans contain more (4).

In one four-week study, participants who ate either one or two servings of pistachios per day had greater levels of lutein and γ-tocopherol, compared to participants who did not eat pistachios (5).

Among nuts, pistachios have the highest content of lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are very important antioxidants for eye health (67).

They protect the eyes against damage caused by blue light and age-related macular degeneration, a condition in which your central vision is impaired or lost (89).

Furthermore, two of the most abundant antioxidants in pistachios — polyphenols and tocopherols — may help protect against cancer and heart disease (610).

Interestingly, the antioxidants in pistachios have been shown to be very accessible in the stomach and thus more likely to be absorbed during digestion (11).

SUMMARY:Pistachios are among the most antioxidant-rich nuts around. They’re high in lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which promote eye health.

While eating nuts has many health benefits, they’re typically high in calories.

Fortunately, pistachios are among the lowest-calorie nuts.

One ounce (28 grams) of pistachios contains 156 calories, compared to 183 calories in walnuts and 193 calories in pecans (21213).

With protein comprising about 20% of their weight, pistachios are second only to almonds when it comes to protein content (6).

They also have a higher ratio of essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein, than any other nut (10).

These amino acids are considered essential because your body cannot make them, so you have to get them from your diet.

Meanwhile, other amino acids are considered semi-essential, meaning that they can be essential under certain circumstances, depending on the health of the individual.

One of these semi-essential amino acids is L-arginine, which accounts for 2% of the amino acids in pistachios. It’s converted into nitric oxide in your body, which is a compound that causes your blood vessels to dilate, helping with blood flow (6).

SUMMARY:Pistachios have fewer calories and more protein than most other nuts. Also, their essential amino acid content is higher than any other nut.

4. May Help You Lose Weight

Despite being an energy-dense food, nuts are one of the most weight loss friendly foods on the planet.

While few studies have looked at the effects of pistachios on weight, those that exist are promising.

Pistachios are rich in fiber and protein, both of which increase satiety by helping you feel full and eat less (1415).

In one 12-week weight loss program, those who ate 1.9 ounces (53 grams) of pistachios per day as an afternoon snack had twice the reduction in body mass index as those who ate 2 ounces (56 grams) of pretzels a day (16).

Moreover, another 24-week study in overweight individuals showed that those who consumed 20% of calories from pistachios lost 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) more from their waistlines than those who did not eat pistachios (17).

One factor possibly contributing to pistachios’ weight loss properties is that their fat content might not be fully absorbed (18).

In fact, studies have demonstrated the malabsorption of fats from nuts. This is because part of their fat content is stuck within their cell walls, preventing it from being digested in the gut (619).

What’s more, eating in-shell pistachios is good for mindful eating, as shelling the nuts takes time and slows down the rate of eating. The leftover shells also give you a visual clue of how many nuts you have eaten (20).

A study showed that individuals who ate in-shell pistachios consumed 41% fewer calories than individuals who ate shelled pistachios (21).

SUMMARY:Eating pistachio nuts may aid weight loss. In-shell pistachios are especially beneficial, as they promote mindful eating.

Pistachios are high in fiber, with one serving containing 3 grams (2).

Fiber moves through your digestive system mostly undigested. But some types of fiber are digested by the good bacteria in your gut, acting as prebiotics.

Gut bacteria then ferment the fiber and convert it into short-chain fatty acids, which may have several health benefits, including a reduced risk of developing digestive disorders, cancer and heart disease (2223).

Butyrate is perhaps the most beneficial of these short-chain fatty acids.

Eating pistachios has been shown to increase the number of butyrate-producing bacteria in the gut more than eating almonds does (24).

SUMMARY:Pistachios are high in fiber, which is good for your gut bacteria. Eating pistachios may increase the number of bacteria that produce beneficial short-chain fatty acids like butyrate.

Pistachios may reduce your risk of heart disease in various ways.

As well as being high in antioxidants, pistachios may lower blood cholesterol and improve blood pressure, thus lowering your risk of heart disease (610).

In fact, several studies have demonstrated the cholesterol-lowering effects of pistachios (252627).

Many studies on pistachios and blood lipids are conducted by replacing part of the calories in a diet with pistachios. Up to 67% of these studies have shown reductions in total and “bad” LDL cholesterol and increases in “good” HDL cholesterol (28).

Meanwhile, none of these studies showed that eating pistachios negatively affected the blood lipid profile (28).

One four-week study in people with high LDL cholesterol had participants consume 10% of their daily calories from pistachios.

The study showed that the diet lowered LDL cholesterol by 9%. What’s more, a diet consisting of 20% of calories from pistachios lowered LDL cholesterol by 12% (25).

In another study, 32 young men first followed a Mediterranean diet for four weeks. Pistachios were then added to that diet in place of its monounsaturated fat content, totaling about 20% of their daily calorie intake.

After four weeks on the diet, they experienced a 23% reduction in LDL cholesterol, a 21% reduction in total cholesterol and a 14% reduction in triglycerides (26).

Moreover, pistachios seem to lower blood pressure more than other nuts.

A review of 21 studies found that eating pistachios reduced the upper limit of blood pressure by 1.82 mm/Hg, while the lower limit was reduced by 0.8 mm/Hg (29).

SUMMARY:Studies show that eating pistachios may help lower blood cholesterol. It may also lower blood pressure more than other nuts.

7. May Benefit Your Blood Vessels

The endothelium is the inner lining of blood vessels.

It’s important that it works properly, as endothelial dysfunction is a risk factor for heart disease (30).

Vasodilation is the widening or dilating of blood vessels. Endothelial dysfunction is characterized by reduced vasodilation, which decreases blood flow.

Nitric oxide is a compound that plays an important role in vasodilation. It causes blood vessels to dilate by signaling the smooth cells in the endothelium to relax (30).

Pistachios are a great source of the amino acid L-arginine, which is converted to nitric oxide in the body. Therefore, these tiny nuts may play an important role in promoting blood vessel health.

One study in 42 patients who consumed 1.5 ounces (40 grams) of pistachios a day for three months showed improvements in markers of endothelial function and vascular stiffness (31).

Another four-week study had 32 healthy young men consume a diet consisting of 20% of calories from pistachios. It found that endothelium-dependent vasodilation improved by 30%, compared to following a Mediterranean diet (26).

Proper blood flow is important for many bodily functions, including erectile function.

In one study, men with erectile dysfunction experienced a 50% improvement in parameters of erectile function after eating 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of pistachios a day for three weeks (27).

But note that 100 grams is quite a large serving of pistachios, containing about 557 calories.

SUMMARY:Pistachio nuts may play an important role in promoting blood vessel health. That’s because they are rich in L-arginine, which, when converted to nitric oxide, helps dilate your blood vessels.

8. May Help Lower Blood Sugar

Despite having a higher carb content than most nuts, pistachios have a low glycemic index, meaning they don’t cause a large spike in your blood sugar.

Perhaps not surprisingly, studies have shown that eating pistachios can have beneficial effects on your blood sugar.

One study showed that when 2 ounces (56 grams) of pistachios were added to a carbohydrate-rich diet, the blood sugar response after a meal was reduced by 20–30% in healthy individuals (632).

In another controlled study, individuals with type 2 diabetes showed a 9% reduction in fasting blood sugar after having eaten 0.9 ounces (25 grams) of pistachios as a snack twice a day for 12 weeks (33).

In addition to being rich in fiber and healthy fats, pistachio nuts are rich in antioxidants, magnesium, carotenoids and phenolic compounds, all of which are beneficial for blood sugar control (633).

Therefore, simply adding pistachios to your diet may help control your blood sugar levels in the long term.

SUMMARY:Pistachios have a low glycemic index, which might promote lower blood sugar levels.

9. Delicious and Fun to Eat

Pistachios can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.

These include as a snack, salad garnish, pizza topping or even in baking, adding a beautiful green or purple color to various desserts and dishes.

Some delicious and green-colored desserts include pistachio gelato or cheesecake.

And, like other nuts, they can be used to make pesto or nut butter.

You can even try sprinkling them over your favorite oven-baked fish, adding them to your morning granola or making your own dessert crust.

Last but not least, pistachios can be enjoyed on their own as a convenient, tasty and healthy snack.

SUMMARY:Besides being a great snack, pistachios can be used in baking and cooking, adding a green or purple color to various dishes.

The Bottom Line

Pistachios are a great source of healthy fats, fiber, protein, antioxidants and various nutrients, including vitamin B6 and potassium.

Their health benefits may include a healthier gut, lower cholesterol and blood sugar, in addition to promoting weight loss and eye and blood vessel health.

What’s more, they’re delicious, versatile and fun to eat. For most people, including pistachios in the diet is a great way to improve overall health.

Caraway Seeds

6 Proven Health Benefits of Caraway Seeds

Caraway seeds are typically used as a popular spice to add flavor and punch to a variety dishes. Their warming, peppery flavor and fragrance make them a firm favorite in traditional European cuisine especially in the Mediterranean region.

Scientifically known as Carum carvi, caraway seeds belong to the Umbelliferae family of plants which also includes other well known spices like fennelcumin, anise and dill.

It is unsurprising therefore that caraway seeds, much like their other family members, confer a variety of health benefits to give your cooking and your health the boost it needs.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF CARAWAY SEEDS

1) DIGESTIVE HEALTH

We have already mentioned what a great source of dietary fiber caraway seeds are. Adding sufficient fiber to your diet is vital for proper digestive function. It can help settle the stomach and stave off common stomach problems including indigestion, bloating, constipation and diarrhea.

The fiber found in caraway seeds helps add bulk and mass to the food you have consumed as it passes through the digestive tract making it easier to pass through the body before being excreted. They are also useful if you are one of the many people suffering from chronic stomach conditions like IBS.

2) WEIGHT LOSS

Foods which are high in fiber are not only good for your digestive health but they are also believed to be good for the waistline. In the case of caraway seeds, there is scientific evidence to back up the belief.

Recent research conducted in Malaysia found that an extract made from caraway seeds helped participants not only to lose weight but also body fat and BMI.

The study was done using 70 female volunteers who were either obese or overweight but otherwise in good health. The women were separated into groups and either treated with caraway seed extract or given a placebo for 90 days. Apart from being given caraway no changes were made regarding diet or exercise.

By the end of the trial, those who took the caraway extract had lost an average of over 6 pounds compared to a slight weight gain among the placebo group. People in the caraway group also experienced considerable improvements in BMI, body fat percentage and an increase in muscle mass.

Those in the group given caraway also saw a two inch reduction in waist circumference. (1)

3) HEART HEALTH

Foods which are rich in fiber like caraway seeds can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels in the body. Reducing overall and LDL cholesterol in turn reduces your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. The natural antioxidants found in caraway seeds also play a vital role in cardiac health by neutralizing the damaging effects of free radicals.

4) MENSTRUAL CRAMPS

Many women suffer from extreme cramps during their period as the uterine wall contracts to shed its inner lining. While many women find relief in pharmaceuticals, there are a number of more natural treatments available that may just relieve their spasms. One of the purported uses of caraway seeds is to help women overcome the pain of spasms during menstruation.

It is a safe and natural alternative treatment and is so easy to do that it is certainly worth trying.

  1. Just add a teaspoon or so of caraway seeds to a cup of boiling water and allow it to steep.
  2. After ten or so minutes, strain the seeds away , flavor with some honey and drink up.

5) SLEEP

For the millions of people suffering from poor sleep patterns or insomnia, caraway seeds may provide a natural solution. The reason that you may get some comfort from caraway seeds is that they are high in magnesium which is linked to better quality and duration of sleep.

They also help to regulate your metabolism which can also help you to overcome sleeping issues. Try a cup of caraway tea before bed and see if it helps.

Apart from the uses listed above, caraway seeds are used for respiratory issues especially to clear coughs. They are also used to sweeten the breath and combat gum disease. An essential oil made from caraway can be applied topically to improve the appearance of the skin, scalp and hair.

HOW TO CONSUME CARAWAY SEEDS

Caraway seeds are available the year round in either seed or ground powder form. After buying your seeds, you should store them in a cool and dark area where they should keep well for a number of months.

Caraway seeds have a sweet, warm pepper like aroma and are a popular spice in Mediterranean cuisine. You will find a number of recipes which call for caraway or you can simply experiment and try them in your own recipes.

Caraway seeds can be used on bread, biscuits and even sprinkled on cheese or salad.

To improve your digestion or deal with menstrual pain, you can chew on the seeds but the most effective and satisfying way to take them is to make a caraway tea.

  1. Simply bring a cup of water to the boil, add a heaped teaspoon of caraway seeds and allow the mixture too steep for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Strain, sweeten as desired with honey and drink up several times a day.

WHAT ARE CARAWAY SEEDS?

Caraway grows profusely all around Europe, Northern Africa and parts of Western Asia. It is a biennial herb that blooms every other year with white or cream colored flowers. The caraway plant which grows to a height of two feet bears seeds which appear very similar to cumin seeds.

The seeds are dark brown, crescent shaped with several stripes running along the surface. The plant is harvested early in the day, bundled and allowed to dry under the sun before the seeds are threshed and extracted manually or with a machine.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE

Caraway seeds are extremely healthy and nutritious. They contain a wide variety of important vitamins and minerals and also act as a natural antioxidant. If you are wondering why you should be eating caraway seeds, here are some facts that may persuade you.

  • Caraway seeds contain loads of important dietary fiber. A 100 gram serving of these seeds contains a whopping 38 grams of fiber which is 100%..that’s right 100% of your recommended daily allowance of fiber. For those of you who feel you need to increase your fiber intake, look no further than the caraway seed.
  • Caraway seeds get their distinctive flavor and fragrance from chemical compounds called caveoles and carvones. These chemical compounds are largely responsible for several of the medicinal properties of the spice including its antioxidant, carminative and digestive properties.
  • Caraway seeds are a great source of diverse minerals including copper, potassium, iron, calcium, selenium, magnesium, manganese and zinc.
    • We all know that calcium has bone benefits while iron and copper are essential for the body to produce red blood cells.
    • Potassium helps our heart work effectively and to maintain both healthy blood pressure and steady heart rate.
    • Zinc has a number of important functions in the body including growth, development, digestion and sperm production.
  • Caraway seeds also provide you with a number of very important vitamins including several of the the B family of vitamins, vitamins A, C and E.
  • Caraway seeds are not only eaten. An essential oil is also made from the plant with a wide variety of health benefits. The essential oils made from caraway contain numerous chemical compounds such as limonene, pinen, carveol, thujone and aldehyde. These compounds have been well studied and are known to have many therapeutic actions including antioxidant activity and digestive benefits.

Paprika

Paprika: The Antioxidant-Rich Spice that Fights Disease

Paprika - Dr. Axe

Who knew a tablespoon of red powder could contain so much goodness? Meet paprika, the pepper-based spice that helps your body steer clear of disease.

From its discovery in the New World in the 1400s to the current use around the world of this handy ingredient, paprika has been much loved since entering the scene when explorers brought some home to Europe, Africa and Asia. Hungary currently produces what’s widely known as the highest-quality paprika, and Hungarian chefs are famous for their preparation of goulash with paprika.

Recently, it’s been found that paprika not only helps your body fight inflammation and disease in general, but it may even have specific targeting to prevent and fight autoimmune conditions and certain cancers. Read further to find out more about these breakthrough discoveries and the benefits you can reap from the popular nightshade vegetable spice.


Paprika Benefits

1. Rich in Antioxidants

Perhaps the most impressive quality of paprika is the amount of antioxidantpower it packs in just one serving. Peppers and products created from them have long been understood to have disease-fighting properties, due in large part to their ability to fight oxidative stress. (1)

There are many antioxidants in paprika, including carotenoids, which are found to varying degrees in different types of paprika. (2) Carotenoids are a type of pigment found in many plants that serve the body as antioxidants, preventing damage from oxidative stress (caused by an overabundance of free radicals in the body) and helping the body fight disease. These are fat-soluble nutrients, meaning they’re absorbed best when consumed alongside a healthy fat source, such as avocado.

The carotenoids commonly found in paprika are beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin and lutein/zeaxanthin. Beta-carotene has many benefits, from skin protection to respiratory health to pregnancy support. The best-known benefit of beta-cryptoxanthin is the ability to lower inflammation in disorders such as arthritis. (3) And, of course, lutein and zeaxanthin are known for their roles in the health of the eyes, helping fight off molecules that are known to cause damage that leads to conditions like macular degeneration.

In general, vitamin A is known for the way it decreases inflammation through antioxidant properties, and since inflammation is at the root of most diseases, getting enough of the nutrient is important in living a life that’s free of disease. And that’s just one of the paprika benefits.

2. Aids in Treatment for Autoimmune Conditions

A groundbreaking study conducted in 2016 found that capsaicin, the ingredient in chili peppers and other hot varieties that provide the heat — like paprika — may have incredible power against autoimmune conditions.

These often debilitating illnesses stem from the immune system attacking the host’s body. Symptoms of autoimmune diseases affect brain, skin, mouth, lungs, sinus, thyroid, joints, muscles, adrenals and gastrointestinal tract functions. However, while autoimmune disorders are not curable, this 2016 study found that capsaicin stimulates biological reactions consistent with the treatment of autoimmune disease. This could be an incredible new body of research in the search to find ways to treat disease by dietary means. (4)

3. May Help Treat and Prevent Cancer

The capsaicin found in spicy paprika isn’t useful in treating just one type of disease — it also has great potential in treating and/or preventing cancer. Operating in several different mechanisms, capsaicin seems to be responsible for altering signaling pathways that limit cancer growth and even suppress genes that tell tumors to increase in size. (5)

In particular, one paprika benefit may be its ability to protect against gastric cancer. A 2012 study of gastric cancer states, “Gastric cancer is the second most common cancer worldwide and the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths.” Over 80 percent of patients diagnosed with this form of cancer die within a year of their diagnoses or recurrence of the disease. (6)

The good news is that capsaicin has potent anti-inflammatory effects on the incidence of gastric cancer, as discovered in 2016 in early research out of Japan. (7)

There are many natural cancer treatments that have been effective in aiding treatment, so if you’re at risk of developing this disease, it’s wise to use paprika as one ingredient in a cancer-prevention lifestyle.

4. Potentially Useful in the Treatment of Diabetes

Like many nutrient-rich foods and spices, paprika seems to have the potential to help regulate blood sugar levels and assist in treating diabetes. When patients with diabetes consume paprika containing capsaicin, they better process the digestion and processing of sugars in the blood. In addition, women with diabetes also tend to birth babies too large for their gestational ages, and capsaicin supplementation decreases the incidence of this as well. (8)

5. Good for the Eyes

Because of the large amount of antioxidants present in this spice, such as vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin, it’s already clear that paprika benefits you by helping prevent diseases that damage your eyes.

In addition to these nutrients, the existence of vitamin B6 in paprika also helps keep your eyes healthy. People who consume high amounts of B6 see a slower onset of macular degeneration and other eye-related diseases, especially when consumed with large quantities of folate.

6. Keeps Your Heart Strong

Spicing up your life with paprika helps keep your heart and cardiovascular system in good shape. Vitamin B6 helps lower high blood pressure and heal damaged blood vessels. It even treats anemia by creating hemoglobin in the blood responsible for transporting oxygen through the bloodstream.

Paprika also contains capsanthin, which is touted, according to one study, as the main carotenoid in the spice. Little, however, is known about this antioxidant, especially in comparison to the other common antioxidants. As more research is done, one source found that capsanthin in paprika caused an increase in good HDL cholesterol, which is another way paprika can keep your cardiovascular system working well. (9)

 

What is paprika? - Dr. Axe

Cumin

13 Surprising Benefits Of Cumin

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