The health benefits of black pepper include relief from respiratory disorders, coughs, the common cold, constipation, indigestion, anemia, impotency, muscular strains, dental disease, pyorrhea, diarrhea, and heart disease.
Black pepper is the fruit of the black pepper plant from the Piperaceae family and is used as both a spice and a medicine. The chemical piperine, which is present in black pepper, causes the spiciness. It is native to Kerala, the southern state of India. Since ancient times, black pepper is one of the most widely traded spices in the world. It is not considered a seasonal plant and is therefore available throughout the year. When dried, this plant-derived spice is referred to as a peppercorn, and is then ground into a powder to be put on food to add flavor and spice.
Because of its antibacterial properties, pepper is also used to preserve food. It is a rich source of manganese, iron, potassium, vitamin-C, vitamin K, and dietary fiber. Black pepper is also a very good anti-inflammatory agent.
Health Benefits of Black Pepper
The health benefits of black pepper include the following:
Good for the Stomach
Pepper increases the hydrochloric acid secretion in the stomach, thereby facilitating digestion. Proper digestion is essential to avoid diarrhea, constipation and colic. Pepper also helps to prevent the formation of intestinal gas, and when added to a person’s diet, it can promote sweating and urination, which remove toxins from the body. Sweating removes toxins and cleans out the pores of any foreign bodies that may have lodged there, and it can also remove excess water or accumulation, also known as edema. In terms of urination, you can remove uric acid, urea, excess water, and fat, since 4% of urine is made of fat. For digestion, inducing digestion can help you lose weight and increase the overall functioning of your body and prevent various gastrointestinal conditions and colorectal cancer. Its ability to expel gas is because black pepper is a carminative, which forces gas out of the body in a healthy, downward motion, rather than pressing upwards in a dangerous way and straining the upper chest cavity and vital organs. It also inhibits more gas from forming in the body.
The outer layer of peppercorn assists in the breakdown of fat cells. Therefore, peppery foods are a good way to help you shed weight naturally. When fat cells are broken down into their component parts, they are easily processed by the body and applied to other, more healthy processes and enzymatic reactions, rather than simply sitting on your body and making you look overweight.
Pepper helps to cure Vitiligo, which is a skin disease that causes some areas of skin to lose its normal pigmentation and turn white. According to researchers in London, the piperine content of pepper can stimulate the skin to produce pigment. Topical treatment of piperine combined with ultra violet light therapy is much better than the other harsher, more chemically-based treatments for vitiligo. It also reduces the chances of skin cancer due to excessive ultraviolet radiation.
In Ayurvedic practices, pepper is added to tonics for colds and coughs. Pepper also provides relief from sinusitis and nasal congestion. It has an expectorant property that helps to break up the mucus and phlegm depositions in the respiratory tract, and its natural irritant quality helps you to expel these loosened material through the act of sneezing or coughing, which eliminates the material from the body and helps you to heal from whatever infection or illness caused the deposition in the first place.
The antibacterial property of black pepper helps to fight against infections and insect bites. Pepper added to the diet helps to keep your arteries clean by acting in a similar way to fiber and scraping excess cholesterol from the walls, thereby helping to reduce atherosclerosis, the condition highly responsible for heart attacks and strokes.
An antioxidant like pepper can prevent or repair the damage caused by the free radicals and thus help to prevent cancer, cardiovascular diseases and liver problems. Free radicals are the byproducts of cellular metabolism that attack healthy cells and cause their DNA to mutate into cancerous cells. Antioxidants like black pepper neutralize these harmful compounds and protect your system from many conditions, even premature aging symptoms like wrinkles, age spots, macular degeneration, and memory loss.
Black pepper helps in transporting the benefits of other herbs to different parts of body, maximizing the efficiency of the other health foods that we consume. That is why adding it to foods not only makes them taste delicious, but also helps make those nutrients more available and accessible to our system.
Cognitive Impairment and Neurological Health
Piperine, one of the key components of black pepper, has been shown in numerous studies to reduce memory impairment and cognitive malfunction. Chemical pathways in the brain appear to be stimulated by this organic compound, so early research demonstrates the possibility for pepper to benefit Alzheimer’s patients and those that are suffering from dementia and other age-related or free radical-related malfunctions in cognition.
A number of studies have shown that black pepper may have beneficial effects on gastric mucosal damage and peptic ulcers, due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. More research is still being done on this aspect of black pepper health effects.
Asthma and Whooping Cough
Pepper is a good treatment for respiratory conditions like due to its properties as an expectorant, as well as its strong anti-inflammatory properties.
According to Ayurvedic medicine, black pepper also helps to prevent ear-aches and gangrene. It is also good for conditions of hernia, hoarseness and insect bites. It is also commonly used to treat conditions of tooth decay and toothache. In ancient times, pepper was also administered to treat vision problems.
Preparing grounded pepper powder at home is better than buying ready-made pepper powder. However, even home-made powder retains its freshness for only 3 months, while whole peppercorns can keep their freshness indefinitely. Thus, adding a pinch of black pepper to every meal helps to improve both taste and digestion. It also improves your overall health and well being.
A Word of Warning
Pepper may cause sneezing. Patients who have undergone abdominal surgery should not add excessive pepper to their diet because it can have an irritating effect on the intestines. It is also not good for people with ulcers. Black pepper should not be taken in high concentrations, and if you show signs of an allergic reaction, discontinue its use and consult a doctor!