Black pepper is one of the most commonly used spices worldwide. Known as the ‘king of spices’, it forms a significant part of a large number of cuisines all over the world, used in cooking as well as garnishing. Black pepper powder, that comes with a mildly spicy flavour, is made by grinding peppercorns, obtained from the plant Piper nigrum.
Since ancient times, black pepper has been considered to have essential health benefits. Therefore, in addition to adding flavour to foods, black pepper has wide-ranging beneficial properties for health. It fights cancer, is an antioxidant, relieves cough and cold, treats skin problems, enhances weight loss efforts, etc.
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Nutritional Value Of Pepper
Black pepper has about 304 calories per 100 gm of weight. We can call it a ‘superfood’ as it is a rich source of a large number of nutrients. Below is a detailed account of the nutritional facts of black pepper.
Total Calories – 304
Protein – 11.5 g
Total Carbohydrates – 49.2 g
Dietary Fiber – 35.3 g
Total Fat – 6.8 g
Calcium – 460 mg
Iron – 12.4 mg
Magnesium – 171 mg
Phosphorus – 198 mg
Potassium – 1.4 g
Sodium – 20 mg
Zinc – 1.31 mg
Copper – 1.4 mg
Manganese – 4.14 mg
10 Health Benefits of Pepper
#1 High In Antioxidants
Black pepper is a rich source of antioxidants. These antioxidants work to fight free radicals, which are molecules, generated both outside and inside our body. Also Free radical generation and damage happen through chemicals, toxins, pollutants, pollution, harmful rays, etc. Some of these free radicals are also created naturally — while exercising, digesting food, etc. Exposure to these free radicals leads to bodily damage and may lead to significant health problems.
Studies have suggested that a diet high in antioxidants may help prevent or delay the damaging effects of free radicals. Black pepper contains the compound piperine which has been proved to have antioxidant effects and thus helps to prevent free radical damage to your cells.
#2 Treats Coughs and Colds
Cold and cough are one of the most common respiratory problems that affect all of us. Black pepper is a major component of Ayurvedic medicines which have been used since long as a cure for these problems. These medicines provide relief from nasal congestion and help in the removal of mucus from the respiratory tract, for a faster recovery. Black pepper can be added to green tea, or with lukewarm warm along with turmeric. Old Ayurveda remedy for cold and cough – Black pepper, pinch of turmeric, 2-3 drops of honey – mix well and consume with luke warm water.
#3 Benefits Your Brain
Black pepper has a stimulatory effect on our brain. It especially helps patients with neurodegenerative diseases. It improves memory and cognitive function in an individual by stimulating the chemical pathways in the brain.
Additionally, it also acts as an antidepressant and elevates an individual’s mood.. Black pepper contains the compound piperine, which has been shown to improve cognitive ability in animal studies.
#4 Helps Improve Blood Sugar Control
Black pepper is useful in controlling the sugar level in patients with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is caused when the pancreas in our body is not able to produce enough insulin or when the body stops reacting adequately to otherwise normal levels of insulin. For this, nutritionists often claim that adding black pepper to your diet can help lower the risk of high blood sugar. Black pepper’s antioxidant properties help to stabilize blood sugar, while also boosting the digestive tract’s health. In addition to this, black pepper helps to fight obesity, which is also one of the major contributing factors of diabetes.
#5 Helps Lower Cholesterol Levels
Congestive heart failure is one of the most common diseases and is a leading cause of death worldwide. High blood cholesterol and hypertension are the most common causes of this disease. Studies have suggested that black pepper can lower the levels of blood cholesterol. Piperine in black pepper helps reduce cholesterol uptake, reduces the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL- Low-density lipoprotein) while simultaneously increasing the levels of ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL- High-density lipoprotein).
#6 Cancer-fighting Properties
Black pepper has also been shown to have anti-carcinogenic properties. The compound piperine, with its antioxidant properties, reduces damage to your cells and keeps the tissues healthy. Thus, eating freshly ground black pepper can help you to keep cancer at bay, due to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant effects.
#7 Helps In The Absorption Of Nutrients
Black pepper helps to increase the absorption of essential nutrients. Due to its inhibitory activity on drug metabolising enzymes, it can help to increase the bioavailability of some nutrients like calcium and selenium, as well as beneficial components found in green tea and turmeric.
#8 Stimulates Digestion
Black pepper helps in the process of digestion. It has been found to have a stimulatory effect on the entire digestive system. Piperine, found in black pepper, stimulates the secretion of hydrochloric acid (HCl) in the stomach, which again helps to digest proteins.
#9 Enables Fat Loss
Black pepper supports weight loss efforts. It helps to break down fat cells, and also plays a significant role in increasing the levels of metabolism in the body. This increased metabolism allows for an increased breakdown of lipids and helps in Fat loss.
#10 Treats Skin Problems
Black pepper is known to prevent excessive skin pigmentation. Vitiligo is a skin condition which results in the appearance of discoloured patches over different areas of the body. It occurs when the skin loses the pigment cells (melanocytes). These cells produce the pigment melanin, which gives the skin its colour. Black pepper helps prevent vitiligo and maintains the original colour of the skin.
Additionally, black pepper may also help to clear acne by doing away with the intoxicants in it.
2 Healthy Recipes That Include Pepper
1. Mashed Potatoes With Pepper
a) 3 medium size boiled potatoes
b) 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
c) 1/2 cup whole milk
d) 1 tsp butter
e) 1/2 tsp garlic powder
g) 1/2 tsp salt
1. Take boiled potatoes in a mixing bowl and mash well until no lumps.
2. Add milk, butter, garlic powder, salt and pepper powder.
3. Mix until well combined and smooth. Serve.
2. Black Pepper Tea
Black pepper tea is a commonly used remedy for coughs and sore throats in Ayurveda. The main ingredient is ground black pepper. Add ginger, lemon, honey and other ingredients for flavour.
a) 2 cups of water
b) 1tsp. of freshly grounded black pepper
c) 1tsp. Lemon juice
d) 1tsp. ginger
e) 1 Tbsp. of honey (optional)
1. Boil 2 cups of water in a pan.
2. Add freshly ground black pepper, ginger and bring it to a boil.
3. Simmer for 4-5 minutes and take off the flame.
4. Transfer to a cup. Stir in lemon juice, honey and serve warm.
Black pepper is a popular spice and is an essential ingredient in the diet of people in all parts of the world. It multiplies the flavour of every dish where it is added and tingles our taste buds. This flavour-enhancer, with its bold flavour, is an excellent addition to almost any dish.
Besides the taste factor, black pepper also contains many nutrients and potent compounds like piperine. Piperine is a compound in black pepper which has been shown to exhibit therapeutic properties. It has wide-ranging benefits like antioxidants and anti-cancer effects, helps to counter skin problems, etc.
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Frequently Asked Questions
A. Black pepper is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in controlled amounts commonly found in foods. Black pepper might have a burning aftertaste if taken in larger amounts at a time. If it gets into the eyes, black pepper can burn. Inhaling black pepper through the nose or mouth can cause coughing. Taking black pepper in amounts greater than those in food might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders. People with diabetes, Post surgery, Pregnant and lactating women should adjust amounts as per medications and tolerance level. People with black pepper allergy should avoid it completely.
A. Black pepper helps in good digestion and when it is consumed raw, hydrochloric acid is released by the stomach and helps in breaking down the proteins.
Chemical compounds of black pepper, particularly piperine, may be effective in the early acute inflammatory process.
Normal sneezing due to black pepper is common. It’s not very common hence most people aren’t aware of black pepper allergy. Black pepper allergy symptoms can be mild in most cases, but in rare cases, the person may experience severe allergic symptoms like it is a nemesis for hypersensitive people because it triggers different allergic symptoms.
Yes. the amount used for cooking gives very less carbs.