The next time you order your grocery, don't forget to stock up black pepper on your spice rack. The king of spice holds more benefits than you'd ever thought. It belongs to the Piperaceae family and is processed in different ways to yield different kinds of peppers.
The pepper plant grows best in a warm and humid climate. Berries mature and are ready for harvest in about 180 to 200 days. Sun-drying the mature pepper berries for 3 - 5 days after separating from the spikes yields black pepper.
Black pepper aids digestion
Black pepper may stimulate the secretion of digestive enzymes that help you feel full after a meal and ease food's transit through the GI tract. It may also improve the absorption of some nutrients. The piperine in black pepper eases digestion and stimulates the stomach, which then secretes more hydrochloric acid that helps digest proteins in food. So sprinkle a bit of pepper on your salad or soup :)
Anti-cancer benefits of black pepper
Black pepper contains anti-oxidant piperine. A study conducted in Michigan's cancer institute concluded that the black pepper and turmeric could prevent the growth of cancerous stem cells in breast tumors. The spice also has Vitamin C, Vitamin A, flavonoids, carotenes, and other antioxidants that help remove harmful free radicals and protect the body from cancers and diseases. The best way to eat pepper is to eat freshly ground pepper and not cook it.
Black Pepper the Fat Fighter
The same ingredient in black pepper that makes you sneeze may help keep you slim. A study suggests that piperine fights bat by blocking the formation of new fat cells. Black pepper can be consumed directly - if you can tolerate the heat of black pepper, try taking 2 to 3 black peppercorns every morning to boost your metabolism and aid weight loss.
Boost your immune system
Pepper helps natural killer cells work better, meaning it boosts the immune system. In India, scientists from Symbiosis International University found doses of pepper, when mixed with cardamom, stimulating white blood cells at the site of infection, which aids a speedy recovery.
Improves skin texture
Did you know that crushed pepper is one of the best exfoliators nature has provided us? Don't use it directly, though; add a bit of honey, curd, or fresh cream. 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.
Black pepper for oral health
Certain massaging mixtures contain black pepper as one of the main ingredients. These massages relieve toothache and other oral infections, given piperine's antibacterial properties.
Pepper also has anti-inflammatory properties that help treat gum inflammation. What else, you can even mix pepper with salt for relief from dental issues. 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 it to the affected area.
Tips for Using Black Pepper in Cooking:
Black pepper was the reason why most travelers all over the world came to India. Hot or cold food, black pepper can be sprinkled over any dish to spice it up. Here are some simple tips for adding black pepper to your daily cooking.
- Sprinkle some black pepper on your salads
- Add some black pepper while frying an omelet.
- You can smear some black pepper to soups, sauces, steak and Bacon, fish, and meat.
- You can add it to some of the hamburgers and sausages.
- Do you love cut fresh fruits? Add some black pepper to strawberries and pineapple and taste it.
- You can also add some black pepper to mashed potatoes.
Get creative and use this spice every day to reap the health benefits. When it only makes your food more delicious, why think twice before using it? Spice up your diet with black pepper