There’s a seasoning that is commonly used in everyday cooking containing amazing health benefits in which we are not fully aware, this is: black pepper. This amazing seasoning promotes weight loss, improve digestion, relieve cold and cough, boost metabolism, anti-inflammatory agent, and treats skin problems.
Dervied from the black pepper plant, it is used both in spice and medicine. Black Pepper is the powder when grinder from black peppercorns. They are picked when almost ripe and sun-rdried, turning the outer layer black. (The white peppercorns are produced when the outer later of the black peppercorn is removed before or after drying.) Black Pepper contains piperine, antioxidants, antibacterial quality, and anti-inflammation properties. Piperine, native to Kerala, the chemical in black pepper that gives the spice it's spiciness. Black pepper plant is not a seasonal plant, therefore it’s always available throughout the year. In it’s dry form, it is referred to as peppercorn. Additionally the antibacterial properties, it is used to preserve food.
Nutritionally, black pepper is a rich source of potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, and vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, E, folate, and K. Plus it has a high content of dietary fiber and a moderate amount of carbohydrate and protein.
Other health benefits of black pepper also include treating sinus, asthma, and nasal congestion. It does also reduces the risk of cancer, and heart and liver ailments.
Through Ayurvedic medicine, black pepper is used to prevent ear-aches and gangrene. But also assist in treating: hernias, hoarseness, and tooth decay and toothache. In ancient times, it was administered to treat vision problems.
Cancer Prevention is directly a result of the antioxidants in pepper. It can prevent or repair the damage caused by the free radicals and thus help prevent cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and liver problems. Free radicals are the by-products of cellular metabolism that attack healthy cells and case their DNA to mutate into cancerous cells. Harmful compounds get neutralized by antioxidants and protect your system from many conditions and symptoms of premature aging like wrinkles, age spots, macular degeneration, and memory loss.
Black pepper increases the hydrochloric acid secretion in the stomach, which then in turn helps maintain proper digestion. Having proper digestion is vital to avoid diarrhea, constipation, and colic. Moreover, prevention of intestinal gas when added to a person’s diet, also promote sweating and urination. Both sweating and urination removes toxins from the body. In our urine it removes 4% of fat. Consequently, it helps with weight loss and promotes overall body function better, while preventing severe gastrointestinal conditions. Black pepper being a carminative in nature, also expels the gas out of the body in a healthy downward motion (upward moving gas can be dangerous because it can strain the upper chest cavity and other vital organs.
It seems that studies also suggests beneficial effects on gastric mucosal damage and peptic ulcers from both the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
Black pepper provides respiratory relief with the expectorant property that assists the break up of mucus and phlegm depositions. In the same token, it provides relief from sinusitis and nasal congestion. The natural irritant quality helps one expel the loosen materials through sneezing or coughing. The elimination of these substance will help recovery from infections and illnesses that they cause. With this property, it makes a good treatment for respiratory conditions for anti-inflammatory and can help asthma.
Earlier on antibacterial quality was mentioned, yes black pepper helps fight against infections and insect bites. As mentioned, black pepper helps expel materials from the body to help with recovery from infections. In the same manner it also help keep arteries clean by scraping away excess cholesterol from the walls. In return, it helps by reducing atherosclerosis (which is highly responsible for heart attack and stroke).
While scrapping and loosening infectant materials in the body, it also acts as a carrier aiding transporting of other foods we consume. So it helps to bring nutrient around the body as well.
One key chemical that gives black pepper its name is piperine, the agent that gives it spiciness flavor. This agent has been shown to reduce memory impairment and cognitive malfunction. This organic compound stimulates the chemical pathways in the brain, it appears to have the possibility to benefit those suffering from early stages of dementia and other age-related or free radical-related malfunction cognition.
With all these benefits to black pepper, there are a few things that we should keep in mind:
~ grounded black pepper at home is always better than buying it ready-made
~ ground pepper powder retains its freshness for only three (3) months
~ whole peppercorns can keep their freshness indefinitely
Caution: Pepper is likely to cause sneezing. Therefore those who just underwent abdominal surgery should not add excessive pepper to their diet — it can have an irritating effect on the intestines.
It should not be taken in high concentration. You should consult a doctor if you have an allergic reaction.
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Inara Ren Kazumi
Grew up in NY and always had a strong passion for well being and balance in life.