Coffee and cayenne pepper are widely consumed in the United States: caffeine, the stimulant in coffee, is among the most commonly used drugs in the U.S, while cayenne pepper adds spice and flavor to a range of foods found in the average American diet. Both coffee and cayenne pepper have a number of physiological effects on your body, and might have complementary effects that benefit your health. However, cayenne pepper combined with caffeine in coffee might also prove harmful. Talk to your doctor before consuming a combination of coffee and cayenne pepper.
Effect on Circulation
Both coffee and cayenne pepper can have an effect on your circulatory system. The presence of caffeine helps constrict your blood vessels, increases blood pressure and increases heart rate. Cayenne pepper also affects your blood vessels: it can increase blood flow to your tissues, and potentially dilate your blood vessels to increase circulation at the surface of your skin when applied topically.
The caffeine in coffee and cayenne pepper might have opposite effects on your cardiovascular system, since caffeine constricts and cayenne dilates your blood vessels. As a result, taking the two together might cancel out the cardiovascular effects of both chemicals. However, clinical studies investigating the effects of the combination caffeine and cayenne consumption on circulation have not yet been performed.
- Both coffee and cayenne pepper can have an effect on your circulatory system.
- The caffeine in coffee and cayenne pepper might have opposite effects on your cardiovascular system, since caffeine constricts and cayenne dilates your blood vessels.
Effect on Pain
Caffeine Effects on Liver
Taking coffee and cayenne together might benefit individuals experiencing slight pain. Cayenne aids in pain control, helping to dull pain over time. In addition, topical application of cayenne might reduce localized pain, helping to control a toothache. Drinking coffee along with taking cayenne might prove beneficial, since caffeine consumption can also help relieve pain in some cases, according to Washington University 12. These complementary actions of cayenne and caffeine might allow you to control pain from some afflictions, like headaches, without needing medication 2.
- Taking coffee and cayenne together might benefit individuals experiencing slight pain.
Effect on Digestive Health
Drinking coffee and taking cayenne might also worsen some existing health conditions. Cayenne pepper might irritate a stomach ulcer, causing discomfort when sores on your stomach lining come into contact with capsaicin -- the active ingredient in cayenne pepper. Coffee can also aggravate a peptic ulcer, stimulating the secretion of stomach acid and potentially worsening pain and discomfort. If you have a stomach ulcer, you should not consume coffee or cayenne pepper except under the supervision of a doctor.
- Drinking coffee and taking cayenne might also worsen some existing health conditions.
- Cayenne pepper might irritate a stomach ulcer, causing discomfort when sores on your stomach lining come into contact with capsaicin -- the active ingredient in cayenne pepper.
Effect on Pregnancy
Vitamins & Minerals in Coffee
You should not drink coffee and consume cayenne pepper if you're pregnant without first consulting your physician. The caffeine in coffee might harm a developing baby, affecting the child's birth weight and potentially leading to heart defects, according to Emory University. There are no confirmed development defects associated with consuming cayenne pepper, but checking with your doctor before taking cayenne supplements can help protect the health of your baby. If you're breastfeeding, limit your cayenne consumption after childbirth, since compounds from cayenne enter your breast milk.
- You should not drink coffee and consume cayenne pepper if you're pregnant without first consulting your physician.
- There are no confirmed development defects associated with consuming cayenne pepper, but checking with your doctor before taking cayenne supplements can help protect the health of your baby.
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Vitamins & Minerals in Coffee
Is Drinking One Cup of Coffee a Day OK When Pregnant?
The Disadvantages of Drinking Coffee
Can Drinking Coffee Cause Dry Mouth?
Can Caffeine Cause Hives?
Caffeine Pills for Weight Loss
Does Caffeine Decrease Breast Milk Supply?
Can Caffeine Cause Ringing in the Ears?
Caffeine Content in One Cup of Coffee Vs. One Shot of Espresso
- University of Utah: Cayenne
- University of Washington: Caffeine for Headaches
- University of Rochester Medical Center, Health Encyclopedia: Cayenne
- Harvard Medical School, Harvard Women's Health Watch, "The dubious practice of detox." May 2008
- Reinbach HC, Smeets A, Martinussen T, Møller P, Westerterp-plantenga MS. Effects of capsaicin, green tea and CH-19 sweet pepper on appetite and energy intake in humans in negative and positive energy balance. Clin Nutr. 2009;28(3):260-5. DOI:10.1016/j.clnu.2009.01.010
- National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements, "Dietary Supplements for Weight Loss, Fact Sheet for Health Professionals."
- Esmaillzadeh A, Keshteli AH, Hajishafiee M, Feizi A, Feinle-bisset C, Adibi P. Consumption of spicy foods and the prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome. World J Gastroenterol. 2013;19(38):6465-71. DOI:10.3748/wjg.v19.i38.6465
- Gagnier JJ, van Tulder M, Berman B, Bombardier C. Herbal medicine for low back pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006 Apr 19;(2):CD004504.
- McCarty MF, DiNicolantonio JJ, O'Keefe JH. Capsaicin may have important potential for promoting vascular and metabolic health. Open Heart. 2015 Jun 17;2(1):e000262.
- Kim CS, Kawada T, Kim BS, et al. Capsaicin exhibits anti-inflammatory property by inhibiting IkB-a degradation in LPS-stimulated peritoneal macrophages. Cell Signal. 2003 Mar;15(3):299-306.
- Laslett LL, Jones G. Capsaicin for osteoarthritis pain. Prog Drug Res. 2014;68:277-91.
- Leung FW. Capsaicin as an anti-obesity drug. Prog Drug Res. 2014;68:171-9.
Sylvie Tremblay holds a Master of Science in molecular and cellular biology and has years of experience as a cancer researcher and neuroscientist.