8 Health benefits of black pepper, the “king” of spices
10/09/2021 / By Rose Lidell / Comments
8 Health benefits of black pepper, the “king” of spices

Black pepper is called the “king of spices” for a reason. This household staple gives savory dishes a spicy kick while offering several health benefits, such as boosting your digestive health.

Read on to learn about eight incredible health benefits of black pepper.

The peppery king of spices

Called the king of spices, black pepper (Piper nigrum) is also used as a natural medicine. Studies show that black pepper can benefit people with high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.

Black peppercorns are the tiny fruit of a flowering vine that belongs to the Piperaceae family. Peppercorn vines can grow as high as 13 feet.

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There are three types of peppercorns:

  1. Black peppercorns start as green peppercorns, which are the dried, unripe fruit of the peppercorn plant.
  2. White peppercorns are from the nearly ripe peppercorn fruits with the skins removed.
  3. Black peppercorns are made from cooked and then dried peppercorns.

Black pepper contains the following nutrients:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Calcium
  • Choline
  • Copper
  • Fat
  • Fiber
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Phytosterols
  • Potassium
  • Protein
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Zinc

Health benefits of black pepper

Black pepper has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that can help boost your overall well-being.

It can help boost your digestive health 

Black pepper promotes the release of hydrochloric acid, which helps boost your digestion. Gastric acid helps prepare food for digestion and absorption in your intestine.

Black pepper contains piperine that helps produce gastric acid, which can also help eliminate gas, heartburn and indigestion. Additionally, black pepper can strengthen your digestive tract and reduce the length of time it takes for food to travel through it.

It can boost your cognitive health

Findings from an animal study suggest that the piperine in black pepper can help boost cognitive function, protect against neurodegeneration and reduce memory impairment in rats with Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers believe that piperine can also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease by healing nerve damage and memory impairment in the hippocampus.

It can help cure respiratory issues

Black pepper has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and expectorant properties that can help with respiratory problems like asthma, colds, cough, labored breathing, nasal congestion and sinusitis.

Additionally, the piperine in black pepper can help suppress the development of disease-causing bacteria.

It may have anti-cancer properties

The piperine in black pepper may have anti-tumor activity that can help prevent or treat various cancers, such as breast cancer, colorectal cancer, melanoma, osteosarcoma and prostate cancer. Research also suggests that piperine can help induce cell death in triple-negative breast cancer cells.

Meanwhile, animal studies have found that the compound can help suppress tumor growth in mice with prostate cancer cells. In another study, piperine inhibited the activity of human rectal adenocarcinoma cells.

It can help treat diabetes

Researches note that the antioxidant properties of black pepper may help treat patients with diabetes and stabilize blood sugar levels.

In one study, researchers discovered that piperine helped increase the metabolic rate of resting muscle, which can be used for diabetes treatment and obesity prevention.

In a separate study, researchers discovered that black pepper oil can naturally inhibit two enzymes that break down starch into glucose. This is good news because black pepper can help regulate blood sugar and delay glucose absorption.

Another study also revealed that the phenolic and antioxidant content of black pepper essential oil can help prevent Type 2 diabetes.

It can help lower blood pressure

The piperine in black pepper can help reduce blood pressure by blocking calcium channels. In an animal study involving nitric oxide-deprived rats, researchers reported that piperine also helped decrease the severity of hypertension caused by oxidative stress.

In another study, researchers found that the phenolic compounds and antioxidants in black pepper essential oil may help treat hypertension.

It can help prevent dental issues

Brushing your teeth regularly, flossing and massaging your gums can help prevent dental problems.

There are even Ayurvedic formulas for massaging your gums that include black pepper. Since black pepper has disinfectant properties, it can help treat toothaches and prevent dental issues like pyorrhea, which causes a discharge of blood or pus.

It helps promote weight loss

Lastly, black pepper has thermogenic properties that can stimulate your basal metabolism and increase fat burning. This means consuming the spice may help suppress fat accumulation.

According to an animal study, piperine supplementation helped reduce the body weight, fat mass, triglycerides, total cholesterol, VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels of rats on a high-fat diet.

Cooking with black pepper

Black pepper has a zesty, spicy flavor. It is often used to enhance the flavor of dishes. Piperine, the active ingredient in black pepper, gives it its characteristic heat.

If you add a lot of black pepper to a dish, the heat may overpower the other ingredients. You can avoid this by using other spices that complement black pepper. Herbs like cardamom and coriander can add to the citrusy undertones of black pepper, while rosemary will add to its piney flavor.

Here are some suggestions on how to cook with black pepper:

  • Blend it into marinades, salad dressings, sauces, soups and stews.
  • Rub black pepper and salt onto meat before cooking.
  • Sprinkle black pepper on omelets.
  • When baking, add a bit of black pepper to biscuits and breads.
  • Add ground pepper to dishes like pasta, mashed potatoes or meat entrees.
  • Use black pepper on egg or cheese dishes.
  • Try adding black pepper to pineapple or strawberries for a fruity, spicy snack.
  • Use the spice to flavor burgers or sausages.
  • Use black pepper to make pepper sauce for steaks.
  • Season seafood with salt and black pepper.
  • Add black pepper to cold sauces, dips or salsas.

Give dishes a spicy kick with black pepper, an incredible spice that’s also good for your digestive health.

Sources:

FoodsForBetterHealth.com

HelpWithCooking.com

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