This article looks at the health benefits of black pepper, how to add it to our diet, and the downsides that come with the consumption of the spice.
Like salt, black pepper is found in every kitchen table or counter. It has a pungent aroma and flavor. Not only is it used as a spice but also has medicinal benefits, making it a great ingredient in Ayurveda. A pinch per meal is all that is needed to make it work its charm
In summary, the health benefits of black pepper include; skincare, acts as an antioxidant, aids weight loss, has anti-bacterial properties, aids digestion, and is also used for respiratory therapy.
what is black pepper?
Black Pepper(Piper Nigrum), native to southwest India, is a flowering plant in the family Piperaceae. Its fruit, peppercorn, is usually dried and used as a spice or seasoning. When fresh and fully mature, it is about 5 mm (0.20 In) in diameter, dark red, and contains a single seed just like all drupes.
Both black pepper and white pepper belong to the same plant species although they are prepared differently. Black pepper comes from dry cooked unripe fruit while we make white pepper by cooking the ripe seeds.
What is the nutritional value of black pepper?
The nutrients present in black pepper include;
- Vitamin K
Is black pepper good for your health?
Of course, when you take black pepper in the right quantities/dosage, which we are going to look at later in this article, you will be able to get the best out of black pepper.
Below are the common health benefits of black pepper.
1. Reduces the risk of cancer.
Research has proved that food, especially meat when boiled at high temperatures, releases heterocyclic amines that are responsible for cancer cells. Black pepper contains piperine which is said to fight these cancer cells.
Black pepper stimulates the production of digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid, and more. All this enhances the system to break down and digest the food.
3. Helps the absorption of nutrients.
The absorption of some food nutrients is also another interesting health benefit of black pepper. When taken with food, it helps to absorb vitamins and minerals. The piperine in black pepper helps the body to absorb curcumin and resveratrol In Particular, which are antioxidants.
Studies have shown how a diet rich in antioxidants may help deter the effect or damage from free radicles which is why black pepper becomes very important. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage your cells.
Some free radicals are created when you exercise and digest food. On the other hand, excessive free radicals can be formed with exposure to things like pollution, cigarette smoke, and sun rays.
5. Helps in weight loss.
Weight loss is another unique health benefit of black pepper. The outer layer of peppercorn assists in the breakdown of fat cells, rather than having them settled in your body to make you obese. You can read the detailed article on black pepper benefits for weight loss here.
You can also learn the herbs for weight loss here.
Black Pepper helps to provide relief from vitiligo, which is a skin disease that causes some areas of skin to lose its normal pigmentation and turn white.
According to research at Oregon Health & Science University, the piperine content of black pepper can also stimulate the skin to produce melanocyte pigment which is responsible for skin color.
Black pepper can also be used as a scrub to exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells. This makes your skin smoother. All you have to do is crush some black pepper and make a scrub to remove dead skin cells and exfoliate your skin.
We also have an article about the spices that improve skin health. you can read about it here.
7. Helps cure respiratory infections.
Black pepper provides relief from sinusitis and nasal congestion. It helps break up the mucus and phlegm depositions in the respiratory tract. Its natural irritant property helps you to sneeze which could help you unblock your nose.
8. It has anti-bacterial properties
Black pepper contains piperine, terpenes, and flavones that helps to fight against bacterial infections in the body. Normally, the bacteria come from the unhealthy foods we may eat or contaminated drinks.
9. Black pepper is an anti-Inflammatory
Inflammation is the body’s reaction to infection or foreign bodies. Most times, these reactions are adverse and painful or even cause more damages to our health. Black pepper has piperine which reduces the intensity of inflammation in our bodies.
How do we add black pepper to our diet?
Black pepper is easy to add to your diet. you can use any of the approaches below
- You can chew 1-2 peppercorns directly if you can tolerate the burning hot flavor of black pepper to rev your metabolism.
- Add a dash of ground black pepper in tea.
- Sprinkle black pepper over fruit and vegetable salad
- Add black pepper to your beverage. Black pepper powder over a buttermilk recipe or summer refreshing masala-mint lemonade is good for your gut.
- Add a drop black pepper oil in a glass of plain water or as a salad dressing.
How much black pepper should I have a day?
Black pepper is safe for consumption in amounts used in food, cooking, and Supplements containing 5–20 mg of piperine per dose. However, eating large amounts of black pepper or taking high-dose supplements may lead to adverse side effects.
What are the side effects of black pepper?
Higher doses of black pepper may be harmful to your gut causing mild intestinal bleeding which can also reduce the stomach’s secretion of healthy digestive juices.
Although black pepper may promote the absorption of some drugs, it can also lead to the dangerously high absorption of other drugs.
Black pepper could cause a burning sensation in the throat or in the stomach.
It will also cause sneezing when you smell it closely because of its strong smell.
Related article: side effects of black pepper.
How to store black paper
To get the best out of black pepper, it’s important that you store in the best way possible. It is better to buy the whole peppercorn and grind them from home. This not only assures you the right spice and right flavor but also that it lasts longer. Store black pepper in an airtight glass container, and always in a cool, dry, and dark place
Black pepper is one spice that should not miss in any kitchen due to its impressive health benefits. Piperine is the active ingredient responsible for its wonders. It fights free radicals and improves digestion and the absorption of beneficial compounds.
Black pepper is generally safe in amounts used in cooking and supplement but overconsumption comes with serious side effects.
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