Do you know that black pepper is one of the most widely traded spices in the world? It is also one of the most common ingredients in almost all cooking styles. From an omelette, pasta to a vegetable stir fry pepper flavor is used to increase the taste factor. While most of us consume pepper in our daily food, we do not realize that pepper is also an important medicinal spice that can be used to treat and prevent a wide variety of diseases. Let us discover some of the most important health benefits of black pepper.
The name pepper comes from Pippali a Dravidian word. The pippali is the local produce of southern part of India. Europeans named pippali to pepper due to its natural component namely piperine which imparts the spiciness to it. Pepper has been an important part of Indian cooking since ancient times dating back to 2 BC. Along with migration of south Indians pepper traveled to East Asian nations and got cultivated there. The pepper is a creeper and normally grown on tall trees and grows up to four meters. The pepper we use at home is the dried pepper fruit. When ripe, the pepper fruit is red in colour and when dried it becomes black. The unripe peppers are dried and sold as green peppers. The white peppers are the seed part of pepper which is white in colour. There are pink and orange peppers which are less common.
Black Pepper Nutrition Facts
A tea spoon of pepper which makes about four grams gives as low as 10 calories and contributes to daily value requirement of about 10% of manganese, 5.4% of vitamin K, 14.4% of iron, 4.9% of copper and about 2.8% of dietary fiber. Details of nutrients in 100gms of black pepper is displayed in the below table (source: USDA National Nutrient Database)
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||3.26 g||11%|
|Dietary Fiber||26.5 g||69%|
|Folic acid||10 mcg||2.5%|
|Vitamin A||299 IU||10%|
|Vitamin C||21 mg||35%|
|Vitamin E-γ||4.56 mg||30%|
|Vitamin K||163.7 mcg||136%|
Some useful consumption tips in cooking
- Powdered pepper loses its flavor very fast and hence freshly ground material is used in all the food preparations. It is also a very important substitute for red chilli. You may use hand held pepper mills to powder the peppers instantaneously before its addition to the cooking preparations or dressing the food preparations right on the dining table.
- Olive oil, broken peppers, salt and lemon juice makes your salad extremely tasty.
- In non vegetarian preparations coating of pepper makes the meat steaks taste better.
Health Benefits of Black Pepper and Consumption Tips
Digestion and Intestinal Wellness
It is a good stimulant and heightens the hunger. It promotes production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and improves digestion. It is a good diuretic promoting urination. It is a natural purgative. It is good for dyspepsia and flatulence because of its carminative nature. It is also a good diaphoretic and helps in sweating. Its antioxidant benefits are well established and known to promote good intestinal health.
Take small quantity of black pepper powder and add it to a glass of butter milk and consume it for relief from indigestion and infections inside stomach. This also helps food to stay no longer than required there by reducing stomach gas and irritations.
For stimulating hunger take a small glass of pepper decoction before food regularly. It also lessens constipation condition if taken twice daily.
As an aid in weight loss
The latest research reports have shown good use of peppers in fat cell breaking down in to energy and thereby helping in slimming down. The piperine seems to increase metabolic reactions to keep the fat levels under control.
Include one teaspoon full of pepper powder in your food daily and the increased metabolic rate will burn the fat for your great looks.
A good expectorant
Peppers are known for their expectorant characteristics. Its regular use alleviates normal coughs, bronchitis cough and asthmatic conditions.
Make a decoction of pepper using boiling water and use it as an expectorant. Take twice daily.
If you are suffering from dry cough put two or three seeds of pepper in the mouth for relief.
Other Health Benefits of Black Pepper
It relives arthritic pains. It is also a good antiseptic. It prevents or reduces temperatures during fever. It also helps in toothaches.
Make the patient to consume a small glass of water in warm condition in which few pepper seeds are boiled. It provides immediate relief from high temperature.
You can sprinkle a pinch of pepper powder over minor cuts to prevent the wound from bleeding and infections.
To relieve toothaches, chew few pepper seeds and then gargle with warm water boiled with pepper seeds
Other Uses of Black Pepper
- You may try peppers as an insecticide because piperine is shown to drive away the insects. It has also proven good in driving away house flies.
- Pepper sprays are prepared to be used as protection from eve teasers for women in public places.