HEALTHY LIVING

Black Pepper Benefits for Your Health

 

Black pepper is one of the most well-known and widely used spices in the world today. I’ve eaten it many ways in many dishes in my travels around the planet. But its health benefits might not be so well-known. Many people just think about black pepper as a condiment, and not as a health food. However, as you will learn, black pepper is way more than just a spice for taste!

Don’t be fooled by the color, whether black, green or white, every peppercorn is from the black pepper plant, which is originally from Asia.

  • Black is the whole, partially ripened fruit.
  • Green is the unripe fruit.
  • White is the peeled seed.

Black pepper has a very pungent quality to it that people either or love or hate.

BLACK PEPPER BENEFITS

Black pepper benefits include providing your body with the minerals potassium, calcium, zinc, manganese, iron, and magnesium. It has also been found to increase the absorption of other nutrients in your foods, including calcium, beta-carotene, selenium, and B vitamins, due to a cool compound called piperine.

Piperine gives black pepper its reputation for making you sneeze. Piperine also reduces cholesterol uptake by internalizing the cholesterol transporter proteins. It reduces LDL (“bad”” cholesterol and triglycerides (fat in the blood) but simultaneously increases HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol).

It just gets better. Piperine is also potent antioxidant that primarily exerts its effects by scavenging cell-damaging free radicals in a way that alleviates oxidative stress (excessive free radical buildup). Such antioxidant activity is especially beneficial for overall good health, as continuous exposure to oxidative stress can severely weaken immunity, increasing the risk of common cancers and many other chronic diseases.

Capsaicin is the ingredient that makes black pepper and other peppers “hot.” Capsaicin temporarily reduces how much fat your body processes from foods you eat. The outer layer of the peppercorn stimulates the breakdown of fat cells, giving you energy to burn and storing less fat, which promotes weight loss.

Other benefits of black pepper you might not know include enhancing digestion promoting intestinal health:

  • The texture and taste of black pepper stimulates and increases hydrochloric acid secretion from the stomach, improving digestion.
  • Digestion power is increased by active principles in the black pepper, which may increase your gut’s motility (the ability to move food through your GI tract).
  • Black pepper is a carminitive, which is a substance that helps prevent intestinal gas from forming. In general, pepper can help prevent intestinal disorders (such as gas, bloating, and more) and promotes the overall health of the digestive tract.
Cracked Black Pepper Health

Capsaicin is the ingredient that makes black pepper and other peppers “hot.” Did you know capsaicin temporarily reduces how much fat your body processes from foods you eat?

OTHER BLACK PEPPER BENEFITS INCLUDE:

  • Black pepper benefits include improving and increasing the release of toxins from your body by increasing the rate of sweating and urination.
  • Also, in recent studies black pepper has showed to be a powerful analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-depressant, and cognitive-enhancing agent. In recent study, black pepper showed powerful support towards preventing anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression, and oxidative stress. The pepper’s piperine reduces oxidative stress (excessive free radical buildup) by scavenging your body for cell-damaging free radicals. Such antioxidant activity boosts your overall health because long-term oxidative stress can weaken immunity to cancers and other chronic diseases.

Heads up, you should know that pink peppercorns are not true pepper. They are actually the dried berries of the Brazilian pepper tree. While these are popular, there are questions about their safety. If someone is sensitive to them, when eaten, symptoms can include rashes, headaches, swollen eyelids, shortness of breath, chest pains, sore throat, hoarseness, upset stomach, diarrhea and hemorrhoids. Yeah, that sounds fun. I’ll pass.

THE SHORT VERSION:

It is incredibly easy to overlook pepper as just sidekick to salt. But this pesky spice is more than a common table seasoning – black pepper benefits for your health include lowering cholesterol, digestive health support, and the prevention of oxidative stress.

SHOPPING TIP: Know where your black pepper comes from and buy organic; you avoid irradiation, heavy fumigation, pesticides, and more unwanted contaminates.

REFERENCES:

Abila B, Richens A, Davies JA. Anticonvulsant effects of extracts of the west African black pepper, Piper guineense. J Ethnopharmacol 1993 Jun;39(2):113-7. 1993. PMID:16400.

Ao P, Hu S, Zhao A. [Essential oil analysis and trace element study of the roots of Piper nigrum L.]. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi 1998 Jan;23(1):42-3, 63. 1998. PMID:16370.

Calucci L, Pinzino C, Zandomeneghi M et al. Effects of gamma-irradiation on the free radical and antioxidant contents in nine aromatic herbs and spices. J Agric Food Chem 2003 Feb 12; 51(4):927-34. 2003.

Dorman HJ, Deans SG. Antimicrobial agents from plants: antibacterial activity of plant volatile oils. J Appl Microbiol 2000 Feb;88(2):308-16. 2000. PMID:16390.

Ensminger AH, Ensminger, ME, Kondale JE, Robson JRK. Foods & Nutriton Encyclopedia. Pegus Press, Clovis, California. 1983.

Ensminger AH, Esminger M. K. J. e. al. Food for Health: A Nutrition Encyclopedia. Clovis, California: Pegus Press; 1986. 1986. PMID:15210.

Fortin, Francois, Editorial Director. The Visual Foods Encyclopedia. Macmillan, New York. 1996.

Grieve M. A Modern Herbal. Dover Publications, New York. 1971.

Mujumdar AM, Dhuley JN, Deshmukh VK, et al. Anti-inflammatory activity of piperine. Jpn J Med Sci Biol 1990 Jun;43(3):95-100. 1990. PMID:16380.

Murray MT. The Healing Power of Foods. Prima Publishing, Rocklin, CA, 1993, pp. 211-212. 1993.

Wood, Rebecca. The Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Prentice-Hall Press; 1988. 1988. PMID:15220.

 

About SuperLife:

SuperLife

 

Darin Olien’s health and wellness company, SuperLife, headquartered in Malibu, CA, shares resources and breaking research that demystify health, fitness, nutrition, and longevity into simple daily actions. Olien’s fad-free, super simple rules of healthy eating and living create life-long wellness and the opportunity to live a SuperLife – the greatest expression of life possible!

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