Cayenne Pepper and Weight Loss

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 9.42.37 PMCayenne pepper is a big “buzz” word that comes up when discussing weight loss. Cayenne pepper is part of the Capscium family of vegetables and contains natural capsaicin, which gives cayenne pepper its hot and spicy taste. It causes an increase in sympathetic nervous system activity, which can reduce hunger and decrease appetite (a win-win for those of you trying to lose weight or those “extra 5 pounds”). Capsaicin also stimulates proteins that enhance fat breakdown (fat burning).

Aside from helping to kick start weight loss, cayenne pepper has many other health benefits.

Cayenne pepper benefits:

  • Helps to boost immunity

  • Maintain a healthy blood pressure

  • Improve blood circulation

  • Helps to soothe a sore throat and keep sinus congestion at bay

  • Helps to initiate weight loss by increasing energy expenditure

It will assist in weight loss but not be the sole reason for it. I recommend following a heart healthy balanced diet, that includes lean proteins, whole grains (or high fiber gluten free grains), fresh vegetables, fruits and heart healthy fats in moderation. Consuming smaller more frequent meals (5-6 mini meals) throughout the day can aid in boosting your metabolism.

_E0A4198*Think of your metabolism as a fire, and the wood (food) as the fuel, you need fuel (eat properly) to keep the fire going. Including 30-60 minutes of moderate physical activity per day (3-5 days per week) is a great fitness goal to add.

Cayenne pepper can be used in a variety of ways. It adds heat and bite to seasoning blends, meats, pickles, seafood, Italian, Indian, Mexican, and Caribbean cuisines. Red pepper is used in seasoned salt, chili powder, jerk, and mole negro. It can make you jump higher!

Please note that excessive amounts of capsaicin can cause gastrointestinal upset or acid reflux due to the spicy effect. I do not recommend cayenne pepper for individuals with digestive issues, GI diseases or GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease).

Spicy three pepper hummus:

  • 2 (16 ounce) cans of garbanzo beans, drained

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

  • ½ c. lemon juice

  • 2 tbsp. tahini

  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 slices jarred jalapeno pepper, chopped

  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper

  • 1 ½ tsp. cayenne pepper

  • ½ tsp. ground cumin

  • ¾ tsp. dried oregano

Mix the above ingredients by whisking them in a bowel on a low to medium speed. Blend until you reach desired consistency. Recipe courtesy of

IMG_1466Enjoy this hummus with chopped vegetables (carrots, broccoli, celery, cherry tomatoes, zucchini) or dip with spicy soy flaxseed chips (can be found at Trader Joe’s) for added fiber, protein and an extra kick of spice. You can also add a dash of cayenne pepper to your homemade salsa, which will make any Mexican dish more delicious.

NASM EDGE Cover photoFor more information about weight loss, how to rev your metabolism or for a customized meal plan to suite your individual needs or personal training to tone specific areas, schedule an appointment with Courtney Walberg-Sullivan, Registered Dietitian, NASM-Certified Personal Trainer and Founder of Nutrition for Body and Mind.