Today on The Dr. Oz Show, I shared info about cayenne pepper and ways to incorporated it into the diet. I wanted to follow up with more of my best tips…

Spicy foods like cayenne pepper increase circulation and cause your brain to release endorphins helping to boost your mood. It’s easy to fire up the flavor of your favorite foods, from nuts and dessert to Southern favorites, with a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Here are 7 simple ways to add cayenne pepper to your favorite foods:

1. If you’ve ever wondered why Southern’s have the reputation for being so nice, it is because we’re always in a good mood from eating spicy foods like gumbo and jambalaya. Just sprinkle in an extra pop of cayenne when you’re making these classics at home. Here’s one of my Dinner Tonight videos making simple and classic Turkey Jambalaya.

2. If you’re familiar with Mexican chocolate then you know how easy it is to recreate it at home by stirring cinnamon and cayenne into chocolate pudding or hot chocolate. Not only does the cayenne give us an extra boost of endorphins but the caffeine from the chocolate releases the brain chemical dopamine which helps to improve our outlook.

3. When you want to snack smarter, add cayenne pepper to air-popped popcorn or trail mix for a spicy snack. Research shows that the omega-3s found in nuts help to decrease depression so roast nuts like almond or walnuts with a sprinkle of red pepper for a power-packed, energy-boosting snack.

4. Daylight savings prevents us from getting that extra boost of Vitamin D to help ward off depression and studies have found that foods high in omega-3s also help to ward off the blues. Get a triple dose of mood boosters by sprinkling cayenne on omega-3 and vitamin D rich salmon.

5. Give grilled or broiled fruits some heat by sprinkling the cut fruit with cayenne. I like to do this with pineapple slices.

6. Boost the heat in simple side dishes by adding cayenne, lemon juice and cumin to quinoa or barley.

7. Perk up deviled eggs and dips while adding a pop of color with a sprinkle of cayenne and paprika.

Do you have a favorite way to use cayenne pepper? Let me know! If you liked this video, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more Dinner Videos.