The King Of Spices – Black Pepper (Black Gold)
What Is Black Pepper ?
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 widely-traded spices in the world. When it’s dried and used as a spice and seasoning, it is known as a peppercorn. Due to its antibacterial properties, pepper is used to preserve food. Black pepper is also a very good anti-inflammatory agent. Black pepper is the world’s most traded spice and is one of the most common spices added to cuisines around the world.
Is Black Pepper Good For You ?
Definitely yes. Beacause its a good source of magnesium, vitamin K, iron, and fiber. It also contains the essential oil piperine, which is used in aromatherapy, to help ease aching muscles, digestive issues, and even inflammatory arthritis. It also possesses antibacterial, antioxidant, immune-boosting, and fever-reducing properties. According to studies, it can also help individuals quit smoking and is actively used in smoking cessation treatments.
How Is Black Pepper Beneficial ?
By consuming Black Pepper the hydrochloric acid secretion in the stomach increases, thereby facilitating digestion. It also helps to prevent the formation of intestinal gas. It can promote sweating and urination. A good digestion helps in weight loss, makes your body function better, and prevents severe gastrointestinal conditions. Since black pepper is carminative in nature, it easily expels the gas out of the body in a downward motion, which is healthy, as upward moving gas can be dangerous because it can strain the upper chest cavity and other vital organs. It can also relieve flatulence and colicky pain. Replacing chili powder in your meals with black pepper can treat flatulence.
Black pepper has Vitamin C, Vitamin A, flavonoids, carotenes and other anti-oxidants that helps to remove harmful free radicals and protect the body from cancers and diseases. The best way to eat pepper to harness maximum benefits is to eat freshly ground pepper, and not cook it along with food. Piperine also increases the absorption of other nutrients like selenium, curcumin, beta-carotene, and B vitamins in your intestines – nutrients that are vital for gut health and cancer prevention. It reduces the stress on the rectum and helps prevent colon cancer. It also enhances the effectiveness of docetaxel, a chemotherapy medication used in the cancer of the prostate.
The outer layer of peppercorn contains phytonutrients which 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 processes and enzymatic reactions, rather than settling in your body and making you look overweight. A teaspoon of pepper has just about 8 calories. If you eat fresh pepper, and begin to perspire, that’s the pepper helping your body to get rid of excess water and toxins.
Relieves cold and cough
Black pepper is antibacterial in nature, and therefore helps to cure cold and cough. A teaspoon of honey with freshly crushed pepper. It also helps to alleviate chest congestion. You can add it to hot water and eucalyptus oil and take steam. 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.
Crushed pepper is one of the best exfoliators nature. Add a bit of honey, curd, or fresh cream to it. It also enables blood circulation, and provides the skin with more oxygen. Adding it to your food also takes care of unwarranted skin wrinkles. Black pepper is known to help in the cure of Vitiligo, a condition where the skin loses pigmentation, and creates white patches. The piperine content of pepper can stimulate the skin to produce melanocytes pigment. It also reduces the chances of skin cancer due to excessive ultraviolet radiation. The potent antioxidants in black pepper offer excellent anti-aging benefits. Its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties help prevent acne.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Piperine can lower blood pressure. It can control the increase in blood pressure. Ingestion of piperine also proved to be effective in controlling blood pressure. Piperine also enhances the bioavailability of curcumin, another important compound found in turmeric.
Improves Oral Health
Pepper has anti-inflammatory properties that help treat gum inflammation. Mix equal amounts of salt and pepper in water and rub the mixture on your gums. For toothache, you can mix black pepper with clove oil and apply to the affected area.
How To Store Black Pepper ?
Store it in an airtight glass container at room temperature, and always in a cool, dry, and dark place. And keep the ground black pepper in the refrigerator for a longer shelf life (For about 3 months). Freezing pepper is also a great storage method, although the taste may change a little and become stronger.
How To Use ?
Pongal, a breakfast food in South India, contains whole black peppercorns, which adds a delicious fieriness to the dish. Rasam with whole peppers is not only tasty, but is also cure cold and blocked nasal passages. Something as simple as fried rice can be spiked with pepper for additional flavour. But most experts will recommend that you cook pepper as less as possible; it’s the freshly ground ones that are most beneficial.
Caution: 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. Black pepper should not be taken in high concentration, and if you see signs of an allergic reaction, discontinue its use and consult a doctor.
When it only makes your food more delicious, why think twice before using it? Spice up your diet with black pepper. Why? Because it is damn good. As simple as that.