Dr. Perricone's No. 7 Superfood: Hot Peppers
- Capsaicin vs. cancer: Several recent studies have shown that capsaicin may actually prevent the growth of certain types of cancer. In particular, there have been several clinical studies conducted in Japan and China that showed natural capsaicin directly inhibits the growth of leukemic cells. Although these studies used pure capsaicin directly injected into isolated diseased cells in a laboratory setting, scientists have also concluded that daily consumption of hot peppers (thus capsaicin) may actually prevent certain types of cancer. Throughout South America, intestinal, stomach and colon cancer rates are very low compared to the United States. It is widely regarded by medical experts that this low cancer rate may be tied to the large amounts of capsaicin in their diets, since nearly every main dish in their normal diet contains some form of capsaicin-based food, particularly hot cayenne and jalapeño peppers. Of course we must also take into consideration the fact these cultures also consume fiber-rich beans on a daily basis.
- Capsaicin as fat burner: Capsaicin is an active ingredient in many of the most popular "fat burning" supplements on the market. A thermogenic agent, capsaicin helps to increase overall metabolic activity, thus helping the body burn calories and fat. Since the FDA banned the herb ephedra, supplement manufacturers have been searching for new thermogenic ingredients and many have added chilies to the mix. While capsaicin replaces some of ephedra's metabolic effects, it doesn't have that herb's negative, stimulant effects on heart rate. In fact, capsaicin is an actively "heart healthy" supplement.
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.