Black pepper is probably the most popular and best-loved spice worldwide, adding both depth flavor and heat to any dish. A pinch of black pepper added to any dish works as more than just a flavor enhancer. It has been valued since ancient time, and the fact that it was once used as currency perfectly sums it all. But, did you know that the most widely spice in the world offers a plethora of health benefits too?
What Is Black Pepper?
Black pepper is the fruit of a plant from Piperaceae family and it is widely used as both spice and medicine. Piperine, its key component, causes the spiciness. It isn’t a seasonal plant, which means that it is available year- round. Thanks to its antibacterial properties, black pepper can be used to preserve food. In addition, it works as potent anti-inflammatory agent.
According to experts, this spice is a potent:
- Analgesic agent
- Antiseptic agent
- Antibacterial agent
- Antispasmodic agent
- Anti-inflammatory agent
Black Pepper Nutrition Facts
Black pepper has a robust nutritional profile and it is a great source of copper, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, manganese and vitamins like vitamin B6, C, K and riboflavin. Additionally, it is rich in fiber, carbohydrates, and protein.
Health Benefits Of Black Pepper
From aiding in weight loss and treating sinus to reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease, black pepper seems to be a cure-all.
- Improves digestion
- Promotes weight loss
- Skin care
- Provides respiratory relief
- Improves cognitive function
- Treats peptic ulcers
- Prevents asthma
Apart from using it as an addition to meals, you can use black pepper topically or by inhalation.
Consuming black pepper oil supplies the body with sesquiterpenes, antioxidants that promote elimination and sweating, efficiently flushing out toxic matter from the body. Ingesting black pepper also boosts the metabolism and improves digestion by increasing the release of digestive juices that help the stomach digest food easier.
When using black pepper oil topically, it is recommended to combine it with carrier oil like jojoba, coconut or avocado oil. Massage the oil to relax the muscles and prevent muscle cramps. This mixture also helps relieve the symptoms of gout and arthritis by reducing uric acid levels in the body.
Using black pepper oil aromatically helps relieve stress and calm down your racing mind. It is one of the best oils used to fight stress and anxiety. As an added bonus, it stops cigarette and alcohol cravings!
Word of Caution: Pepper can cause sneezing. People who have undergone abdominal surgery should avoid using excessive pepper as part of their diet as it can have an irritating effect on the intestines.