More than just a pizza topping, red pepper flakes have a slew of cooking and health benefits. Also known as crushed red pepper, this multi-beneficial spice does everything from brightening flavor in dishes to preventing diseases. Read on for some of the best reasons to eat red pepper flakes.
1. They Bring Out Flavor
From pastas to salads, a dash of red pepper can brighten the flavor of other ingredients in a number of different dishes without adding that spicy kick. In small doses, red pepper flakes don’t overwhelm your food with spiciness, they add a hint of smokiness and bring out the flavor of other ingredients. Take it from someone who shies away from spicy food: red pepper flakes are a great addition to nearly any dish!
2. They’re a Great Alternative to Salt
If you’re watching your salt intake, red pepper flakes can be an excellent alternative. They’ll add the much-needed flavor without packing on the sodium.
3. They Ease Congestion
Adding red pepper flakes to your diet can help clear your congestion during cold and flu season and allergy season. That’s because the spicy heat found in the flakes helps clear the mucus stuffing up your nose and lungs.
4. They Help Control Weight
That kick of heat does wonders for your appetite. Some research has suggested that red chili pepper flakes and other peppers help stimulate metabolism and prevent fat storage. Sprinkle some on your eggs or toast in the morning and reap the appetite control benefits all day long.
5. They May Help Prevent the Spread of Prostate Cancer
Some research has suggested that red pepper flakes help prevent the spread of prostate cancer in men. For men diagnosed with the cancer, the capsaicin found in red pepper flakes and other types of peppers may help slow the growth of the cancer tumor while keeping healthy cells intact. However, the doses used in the studies were much higher than is recommended for individuals to eat, and more research is needed.
6. They Boost Immunity
Want to give your immune system a boost? Grab that pepper flakes shaker! Flakes and other members of the pepper family contain a good dose of vitamin A, a nutrient that helps keep your immune system healthy.
7. They Prevent Stomach Ulcers
Do peppers create stomach ulcers? Hardly! In fact, it’s the opposite — red pepper flakes and other members of the pepper family contain a chemical known as capsaicin, which helps kill bacteria in the stomach and helps protect the stomach lining itself.
8. They’re Great for Diabetics
If you’re a diabetic, or just want to prevent diabetes, red pepper flakes are your friend. That’s because the flakes, and other chili peppers, can help reduce hyperinsulinemia, or high levels of insulin in the blood stream.