A strong immune system protects you from invading germs, viruses and bacteria that can make you sick. Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables is one way to boost your immunity and help prevent illness. You might also add cayenne pepper to your healthy eating plan. The spice contains capsaicin, which can destroy bacteria and viruses before they make you sick. Capsaicin might also inhibit cancerous tumors from forming.
Sprinkle cayenne pepper on your food in place of the traditional black pepper. Because cayenne pepper is spicier, start with a small amount and gradually work your way up to eating more. Cayenne pepper pairs nicely with scrambled eggs, grilled meat, soup, stew, casseroles and Mexican foods such as tacos and enchiladas.
Use cayenne pepper to season your food as it cooks. Add cayenne pepper to refried beans when you make burritos. Include cayenne pepper in a rub recipe for chicken or steak or shake it into your favorite meat marinade. Sprinkle cayenne pepper into vegetables as they steam or over potatoes while they boil. The pepper will enhance the flavor of homemade salad dressing, as well.
Make an herbal tea that includes cayenne pepper. Though not sweet like most teas, cayenne pepper blends well with sweet spices to create a tea that is tasty and will boost your immunity. Boil freshly, peeled ginger in water for several minutes. Remove the water from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes or so. Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice and add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. You might also add a shake of cinnamon to enhance the flavor even more.
- MayoClinic.com: Your Immune System
- Journal of Immunology: Immunotherapy of Tumors with Neuroimmune Ligand Capsaicin
- The Peppers Cookbook: 200 Recipes From The Pepper Lady's Kitchen; Jean Andrews
- Use fresh cayenne peppers in your cooking instead of the dried version. The fresh peppers are quite spicy so a little bit goes a long way.
- Cayenne pepper alone won't prevent you from getting sick, but it can help make your immune system stronger so you're able to fight germs and bacteria off more easily.
- If you get sick quite often, speak with your doctor about additional ways you can boost your immunity.
- Wash your hands thoroughly if your skin comes into contact with cayenne pepper.
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.