Cayenne pepper is known by many names, including Guinea spice, bird pepper, or simply red pepper. It is used primarily as a spice for food dishes, although some cultures may also use it for medicinal purposes. The name comes from the city of Cayenne in French Guinea and is thus used heavily in the local and regional cuisine, mainly in powder form.
Nutrition wise, cayenne pepper contains vitamins A, B, E, C, as well as potassium and riboflavin. Apart from its spicy, picante flavor, it can also increase blood circulation, which is important for most people, but especially those with diabetes who need to maintain healthy blood sugar levels at all times. Although spices have shown evidence of having significant health benefits, they are mostly in conjunction with other foods and should not be consumed in their raw form.
Cayenne Pepper: a Diabetes Treatment Method?
In recent years, cayenne pepper has been used widely in alternative health diets, such as the "Master Cleanse", where a mixture made from lemonade, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup has supposedly led to immediate health benefits such as losing weight and cleansing the digestive tract. Some people have even used cayenne pepper to assist their blood sugar levels in their diabetes.
Although there is very little research that has been conducted on using cayenne pepper to manage diabetes, there is some evidence that it doesn't hurt blood sugar levels either. According to World Health Foods, cayenne pepper has been found to curb the amount of insulin needed to lower blood sugar after a meal. It has also been suggested by the NewScientist that capsaicin, an active ingredient in hot peppers, actually helps stabilize blood sugar levels and possibly even decrease insulin release, which is particularly useful for people with Type 1 diabetes. For the most part, however, experts remain skeptical and recommendations to use cayenne pepper for disease treatment are rare.
In any case, cayenne pepper remains a popular spice to use in a variety of dishes, and can at least create flavorful foods for anyone to enjoy. Using spices is also a healthy way to avoid using salt and pepper, which contribute to heart disease by lowering blood pressure levels and thus stabilize blood sugar levels. Spices can also be used as a seasoning for meats, lightly sprinkled on breads and cheese, and anywhere else that could use a slight kick. The antioxidant properties of cayenne pepper, as well as vitamin C and carotenoids, provide overall health and dietary benefits.
If you are interested in using cayenne pepper, diabetes patients should consult with their doctor to see which ways to use it best within one's diet. In no way is cayenne pepper a cure for diabetes. Using spice should be seen simply as an alternative ingredient in sodium-heavy foods and as a way to improve their overall health.