By Mihran Kalaydjian
King Of Spices: Black Pepper Health Benefits
What is Black Pepper?
Black Pepper, is a popular seasoning spice originating from Southern India. It has a long and rich history in Ayurvedic medicine where it was valued for its natural healing properties. It has anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that help heal various ailments from common colds to cancer
Nutrients found in Black Pepper
Black Pepper, the King of Spices, is popularly used world-wide for spicing up various dishes and healthy soups. It is a highly nutritious spice and is loaded with anti-oxidants and minerals:
Iron: Used to build red-blood cells and for repairing worn out cells.
Potassium: For regulation of heart beat and maintaining blood pressure.
Calcium: For strong bones and teeth.
Manganese: For bone-building and metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.
Magnesium: For proper nerve and muscle functioning and conversion of blood sugar to energy.
Zinc: Eliminates cholesterol deposits and is important for growth.
Chromium: Helps metabolize fats and carbohydrates in the body.
Vitamin C: For a strong immune system and combats cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin A: For healthy mucous membranes, essential for proper night vision and promotes skeletal growth.
Niacin: Regular functioning of tissues and enables conversion of carbohydrates to energy.
Riboflavin: Releasing energy to cells and enables break down of fats.
Pyrodoxine: Prevents water retention and enables conversion of carbohydrates to energy
Thiamine: Growth and development of skeletal structure, promotes digestion.
Folic Acid: Forms red blood cells and important in blood circulation around the body.
Some of the health benefits of black pepper include:
1. Health Benefits Of black Pepper: Blood Pressure
Black pepper has major compounds that regulate blood pressure levels in our bodies. It is also rich in vitamin C which helps prevent hypertension by increasing the excretion of lead from our bodies. The high levels of essential minerals like potassium, calcium and iron in black pepper are blood pressure lowering compounds. The major underlying cause of high blood pressure can be attributed to very high levels of sodium in the body. Black pepper contains an insignificant amount of potassium, which is very potent in minimizing the effects of high sodium levels in the body.
2. Health Benefits Of black Pepper: Brain Food
Recent studies show how piperine found in black pepper contain anti-depression properties that can help you cheer up. Research also shows how black pepper is very effective in proper brain function, cognitive function and stimulates central nervous system. Additionally, piperine also helps increase endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are chemical substances in the brain that provide relief from pain but they also improve moods and make us feel good. A good dash of black pepper in your vegetable soup may actually lift your mood!
3. Health Benefits Of black Pepper: For Colds and Flu
Black Pepper has anti-microbial properties that help destroy cold-causing germs and pathogens, thereby clearing nasal passages and relieving congestion. Black Pepper helps keep the flu bugs away by inducing sweating which helps dislodge mucus in the chest and nose. Hot spices like black pepper are known to give people runny noses. This is just a way of removing the excess mucus lodged in the chest cavity. Vitamin C, that is an excellent fighter of colds and flu, is an active vitamin contained in black pepper. In India, a common remedy for colds is taking a hot soup called rasam, that is prepared using herbs and spices like tamarind and black pepper.
4. Health Benefits Of black Pepper: Heart Disease
Two active ingredients in black pepper: Piperine and Chromium contain anti-inflammatory properties that are essential in healing inflammation in the walls and arteries of the heart. Black pepper may also help regulate blood cholesterol and suppressing bad cholesterol which eventually ends up clogging arteries surrounding the heart, thereby causing cardiovascular problems. Sprinkle a dash of ground black pepper to your fresh salad for a healthy well-functioning heart.
5. Health Benefits Of black Pepper: Anti-Cancer
Black pepper, when combined with turmeric is said to significantly lower the odds of cancer by fighting of the growth of cancerous cells. Piperine, the primary anti-inflammatory phytochemical found in black pepper suppresses cytokines (substances produced by cancerous cells)thereby, reducing the harmful activities of cancerous cells and their growth into tumors. Black pepper also contains potent anti-carcinogen and anti-bacterial values that protect the mucus membranes lining the stomach, preveting microbial and bacterial attack.
6. Health Benefits Of black Pepper: Cooling the Body
You can beat the summer heat by adding hot spices including black pepper to your diet. Since black pepper is a hot spice, it helps cool the body by increasing blood circulation and also by inducing sweating which releases the excessive heat from our bodies. Black pepper also helps to rapidly raise your body temperature then lower it at intervals and this eventually cools down your internal body temperature. You can toss a couple of black peppercorns to a wide range of spicy foods from hot Indian curries to sizzling Mexican summer salads.
7. Health Benefits Of black Pepper: Proper Digestion
Black Pepper stimulates the gastric pits in the stomach to release gastric juices for proper digestion. This helps prevent various stomach ailments related to digestion, for example: gas, bloating and diarrhea. Pepper also contains a lot of dietary fiber for cleansing and regulating bowel movements. This helps our bodies to get rid of harmful and unwanted wastes that may be poisonous on accumulation. A pepper-added diet can help your digestion system function effectively, without having to suffer from embarrassing stomach problems like gas and diarrhea.
8. Health Benefits Of black Pepper: Good For Skin
The principal chemical compound in black pepper, Piperine, can act as alternative medicine in treating various skin ailments and infections such as vitiligo. The powerful anti-oxidants in black pepper also shield the skin from UV rays that cause sunburns and even skin cancer. Pimples can also be treated with black pepper. A simple remedy is to grind at least a teaspoon of black pepper and add it to a measurable quantity of rose water. Apply on face twice a day for a pimple-free glowing face.
9.Health Benefits Of black Pepper: Weight Loss
Black Pepper is a great spice to add to your diet in curries or soups that you might take when on a weight loss program. This is supported by the fact that it has absolutely no fat contained in it and only a few calories. Piperine, found in black pepper, helps increase the body’s metabolism. In so doing, more and more calories will be burned in order to obtain energy off them. Burning calories means getting rid of the carbohydrates that will turn into stored fats, thereby maintaining healthy weight.
10. Health Benefits Of black Pepper: Dental Health
Black Pepper is said to fight tooth decays and cavities and promote healthy strong teeth. Black Pepper can also heal tooth aches and relieve pains. A common tooth ache remedy with black pepper suggests mixing 3 teaspoons of black pepper powder and a pinch of salt in a little water and gently applying it to the painful area or cavity. Practiced twice a day, this remedy will guarantee healthy gums and teeth for a lifetime.