Flavour. Health. Detoxification. These are the three big words that come to mind when one thinks of pepper. Widely known as the “King of Spices,” black pepper easily makes its way into the kitchen by virtue of the nutritional value it brings to the dining table! All you need is an ounce of black pepper in your meals, and you’re on your way to a significantly healthier lifestyle. Before we dive into the black pepper benefits, let’s get to know this amazing spice!
Where does pepper come from?
Pepper originates in a flowering vine that belongs to the Piperaceae family. The fruit of this vine is dried (the dried fruit is called peppercorn) and used as spice and seasoning. There actually are three types of peppercorns – black pepper, green pepper, and white pepper. Black pepper is the most common variety; it is first cooked and then dried. Used in Indian cooking since 2000 BC, this spice is indigenous to the Southern part of India (along with some other parts of South Asia).
Peppercorns have always been an important commodity in trade, historically speaking. The nutrients it contains gives way to a powerful culinary status. And, of course, if used appropriately, it can dramatically enhance the taste of your dishes. In many ways, its flavoring properties can be much more overpowering than even salt! When used with other ingredients like turmeric, cinnamon, and cumin, it adds up to form a fantastic spice-mix.
What are the black pepper benefits ?
Black pepper contains piperine, a bio‐active component that lends pepper its pungent smell and taste. Piperine is a natural alkaloid and has been used in traditional medicine for the longest time on account of its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Here are 5 key black pepper benefits –
1. It aids with digestive function and weight loss.
When you consume black pepper with a meal, your digestive juices and enzymes are stimulated, which then enhances your system’s ability to break down and digest food. Black pepper also prevents the formation of gases in the intestinal tract, thus relieving flatulence.
The spice also assists with the general detoxification of your body, by promoting sweating and urination. Sweating removes toxins and cleans out pores, whereas urination eliminates uric acid, urea, excess water, and fat from the body. As an obvious consequence of good digestion, overall body function improves, and it becomes easier for the body to shed unhealthy weight, too. In fact, the piperine in black pepper is known to fight the formation of fat cells.
2. It treats skin and hair problems and improves circulation.
A condition by the name of vitiligo, which turns the skin white, is preventable thanks to black pepper. The piperine in the pepper is naturally capable of restoring the skin’s natural color. In fact, pepper is generally great for your skin and for hair! Generous consumption of pepper throughout your lifespan can prevent the onset of wrinkles and premature ageing while keeping dark spots at bay. Eating pepper also helps blood circulation to different parts of the body, keeping your skin healthy and rejuvenated. Using crushed black pepper for skin exfoliation, along with some honey or yogurt is a fantastic way of maintaining that fresh, gorgeous look! The same concoction can also be used to treat dandruff and naturally restore hair growth.
3. It fights illness and infections.
As per ancient Chinese medicine, black pepper benefits have been used to relieve cough and cold on account of its ability to stimulate circulation and loosen the heavily clogged (by infection) mucous lining. As a result of the loosening, one is able to cough out the mucus easily and is relieved of the constant, irritating congestion. Pepper is also capable of providing relief from sinusitis.
Black pepper has antibacterial and antioxidant properties as-is, which helps prevent infection, fight disease-causing free radicals and boost immunity. This spice is also known to scrape off excess cholesterol from arterial walls, thereby reducing atherosclerosis, the biggest contributor to a heart attack! As part of its disease-fighting properties, pepper is also known to prevent cancer. It is rich in potassium and iron, which helps in the regulation of blood pressure. Black pepper benefits in the production of red blood cells.
4. It improves cognitive functions and mental health.
Numerous studies indicate that piperine reduces memory impairment and cognitive malfunction, and early research suggests that pepper can possibly benefit patients of Alzheimer’s and dementia. In fact, pepper can prevent any disease characterized by a decline in cognitive function due to the action of deleterious free radical reactions. Some examples of these diseases are asthma, dementia, atherosclerosis, cancer, inflammatory joint disease, and degenerative eye disease. Pepper can also enhance nerve activity in the brain, and thus has a significant and curative effect on seizures. The piperine in pepper is also important in dealing with Parkinson’s disease and depression – it aids the production of dopamine in the body.
5. It helps prevent and treat diabetes.
Black pepper substantially aids in reducing blood sugar level fluctuations on account of its antioxidant properties, which in turn regulates hyperglycemia, thereby aiding in diabetes treatment. As mentioned earlier, pepper does a great job with helping your digestive tract. Black pepper oil has properties that inhibit the enzymes responsible for breaking down starch into glucose. As a result, starch is not as easily converted into glucose and diabetes is significantly ameliorated. In fact, piperine can be used as a bio-enhancing agent alongside metformin (major diabetes medication); it ultimately helps reduce the dosage and the side-effects of metformin.
Now that you know the black pepper benefits, we hope you’ll start incorporating this healthy spice to your meals pronto. Now it is easy to buy black pepper online. Happy, healthy eating!