Black pepper derives from the pepper plant, which is a smooth woody vine that usually grows up to 33 feet in humid and hot tropical climates. The pepper plant bears small white clustered flowers for 3-4 years that develop into berries called peppercorns, which produce the spice known as black pepper. This spice played a great role in history and has been considerate as a crucial spice from time immemorial. It was also used as currency in ancient Greece. In later years, this spice becomes pivotal in the spice trade all over the world 1 .
So, the next time you relegate this spice to the back of the shelf, think twice! The humble black pepper holds numerous health benefits than you’d imagine. This pepper is processed in different ways to produce different kinds of peppers. For example, black pepper is the cooked and dried unripe fruit; the dried and unripe fruit is green pepper, and the seeds from the ripened fruit of the plant are white peppers.
Vietnam is thought to be the prevalent grower and exporter of pepper. Indonesia, Brazil, and India follow suit.
Health Benefits of Black Pepper
While used in garnishing and cooking in various cuisines all over the world, black pepper comes with numerous health benefits. Here are the most impressive black pepper health benefits:
- Prevent Cancer
The black pepper contains piperine that can be credited with cancer prevention. This alkaloid is twice as powerful when combined with turmeric 2 .
Black pepper is also a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, carotenes, flavonoids, and some other potent antioxidants which help remove harmful free radicals and protect your body from cancer and other terrible diseases. Maybe not the most pleasant way – but the best way to consume this pepper in order to get maximum health benefits is to consume freshly ground pepper.
- Cough Relief
Pepper is antibacterial in nature, and thus, helps to eliminate a cough and cold. Just a teaspoon of honey with some freshly crushed black pepper does the trick. Plus, it can help you alleviate chest congestion usually caused due to pollution, viral infection, or the flu. You can add some pepper to a hot water along with eucalyptus essential oil and take steam. Due to the good Vitamin C content, this pepper also works as a great antibiotic.
- Stimulate Digestion
As we mentioned before, this pepper contains piperine that can stimulate your stomach and support digestion, which then secretes and even more hydrochloric acid which assists in digesting proteins in food. Therefore, a bit of pepper in meals will actually aid you to digest it faster.
- Support Weight Loss
This is certainly one of the best benefits of black pepper! This pepper is so incredible when it comes to extracting nutrients from the food. Its outermost layer contains potent phytonutrients that help to break down fat cells, and also boosts metabolism. If you consume fresh pepper and start to perspire, that is because the pepper is helping your body to eliminate toxins and excess water. However, you should control the consumption of black pepper – a pinch with your food (per meal) is quite enough.
- Improve Skin
If you want to improve the look of your skin– this pepper is ideal spice for you!
Did you know that crushed black pepper is one of the greatest exfoliators nature has provided us?
However, you should not use it directly on your skin; add a bit of fresh cream, curd, or honey to it. It will also enable the circulation of blood, and provides your skin with more oxygen. Consuming black pepper through food it will help you improve your skin and get rid of unwarranted wrinkles. This pepper is known to help in the treatment of Vitiligo, an ailment where the skin loses pigmentation, and forms white patches.
- Help Your Deal with Depression
It is said that the piperine in pepper assists to deal with depression, by stimulating the function of the brain and making it more active.
Black Pepper Nutrition Facts
What an ounce of this spice provides is a lot: 57% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin K; 79% of the manganese; 30% of the fiber, and 45% of the iron. It is true that one would certainly not have that much pepper in a day, however, this helps calculate the nutrients you can get in 1 teaspoon: 6% of the manganese required for one day, for example.
This pepper helps shore up your system with other essential minerals like calcium to strengthen your teeth and bones, and potassium for controlling the blood pressure and heart rate. According to studies, zinc promotes cell growth and is a potent antioxidant, protecting against free radical damage 3 . Iron transfers oxygen from the lungs to the whole body and helps muscles with oxygen storage and use.
As for magnesium, experts say up to 300 enzymes use it as a cofactor. It is an anti-inflammatory and it can keep blood vessels pliable, and builds bones. Potassium, another mineral in pepper, can improve the ability of your stomach to digest foods and promotes intestinal health.
Black pepper, raw: 3.5 ounces (100 grams) serving size, contains about:
- 255 Calories
- 27 Calories from fat
- 3 g (5%) total fat
- 1 g (5%) saturated fat
- 0 mg (0%) cholesterol
- 44 mg (2%) sodium
- 65 g (22%) total Carbohydrate
- 27 g (106%) dietary Fiber
- 1 g sugar
- 11 g protein
- 6% Vitamin A
- 35% Vitamin C
- 44% Calcium
- 160% Iron
There are various amazing spices on the planet, but black pepper is one of the most desired and respected of all spices. It is being known for centuries that a tiny bit is all it needs to lend a spicy warmth to meals, along with just a touch of great flavor.
But as tasty as it might be in many a recipe, black pepper has really significant nutritional aspects, as well. Studies have proven that its unique combination of oils, minerals, and vitamins, provides such benefits as improved heart rate and blood pressure, increased nutrient absorption, healthy cell growth and digestion, and antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune system enhancing, and fever-reducing properties. 4