Cayenne pepper is a spicy pepper that falls about mid-range on the Scoville scale, so it’s hot, but not outrageously so. It is frequently powdered and used to flavor dishes, so the nutrients we get from it are pretty negligible. If you are one of those who can eat cayenne peppers whole, you’ll be getting a hefty dose of vitamins, A, C, E, and a host of B vitamins, plus potassium and manganese. Not to mention the capsaicin that gives the pepper its spicy quality.
Benefits of Capsaicin
The capsaicin itself provides a number of proven health benefits, including boosting metabolism and regulating blood pressure. Cultures that consume high amounts of hot peppers also tend to have lower levels of certain kinds of cancer, including stomach cancer. It’s merely correlational evidence, but still pretty interesting.
Paleo and Auto-Immune Protocol
On the other hand, peppers are a member of the nightshade family. Although most of us can eat all the peppers and tomatoes we want without suffering any ill consequences, some people have problems digesting them. As with all food allergies, the best way to determine if you are sensitive is to eliminate them from your diet for at least a couple weeks, then slowly reintroduce them and note how they make you feel.
Mark Sisson discusses why we should look out for nightshades (or not) in this post.