Monday, August 9, 2010

Capsaicin Effect Against Colon Cancer and Fights Fat

It's found in spicy chili, bold sauces, and many south-of-the-border goodies. It's also the stuff that gives hot peppers their heat and makes your eyes water just a tad. And your colon really loves it.

We're talking about capsaicin. New research suggests this nippy little compound that makes your mouth tingle may make colon cancer cells pretty uncomfortable, too, sending them into a self-destructive death spiral. Ouch.

Dance of the Dying Cell
In a recent lab study, capsaicin sparked a complex set of mechanisms in colon cancer cells that had been exposed to the fiery compound for 24 hours. An enzyme thought to kill off cancer cells increased, as did death-inducing changes in the maverick cancer cells' mitochondria and DNA. More research is needed -- including research in human subjects -- to determine if dietary capsaicin could have similar beneficial effects against colon cancer. But animal research on pancreatic cancer and diet already suggests that dietary capsaicin may be up to the challenge.

More Ways to Cut Colon Cancer
Red peppers tend to have more capsaicin than green peppers, but it can't hurt to add either kind to your huevos rancheros in the morning or to your fish tacos at night.
point of view:

Wouldn't it be great if you could just sprinkle something on your food to help you lose weight? Research suggests these fiery flakes might fit the bill: crushed red pepper. A small batch of studies has shown that a key ingredient in hot peppers -- capsaicin -- may help curb appetite and hinder the storage of fat.

Slim and Spicy
If you're serious about losing weight, red pepper flakes alone aren't going to move the dial much. But they could be a useful addition to a legitimate weight loss plan. Researchers in one study concluded that capsaicin may boost sympathetic nervous system activity in a way that dampens hunger and calorie intake later in the day. And related research found that capsiate -- a capsaicin-like compound from sweet peppers -- hindered fat storage and boosted weight loss.

Fiery-Hot Weight Loss
Besides possibly helping you lose more weight, adding heat to low-calorie meals will boost flavor and interest as well -- whether you choose capsaicin-rich cayenne pepper, diced jalapenos, or any variety of hot chili peppers. Try a few of these pungent pepper recipes from EatingWell: