Since the origin of time, there has been that one spice which rules the eastern kitchens with its powerfully zingy flavor, and the spicy goodness that adds to the health quotient of every meal. Black Pepper, also called the “King of Spice” due to its magnificence, is widely used in Sri Lankan kitchens instead of chilies to make food hot and spicy.
In the old days, our grandma’s rarely used chilies to make food spicy. They used pepper instead in their daily cooking. They managed to avoid a variety of gastrointestinal problems and cancer due to their insightful use of black pepper in meals.
Here are 8 science-backed, amazing health benefits of black pepper.
1. High in antioxidants
Black pepper is rich in a plant composite called piperine, which is known to have powerful antioxidant properties.
Antioxidants can prevent or delay excessive free radical damage that may lead to major health problems such as cancer, inflammation, premature aging, and heart disease.
2. Improves digestive health
Black pepper encourages digestion by stimulating the digestive juices, enzymes, and works positively on pancreatic enzymes, enhancing the overall digestive process.
Black pepper can relieve flatulence and colicky pain. In the old days, when going on long-distance trips, our ancestors used to take the snack food called Aggala. It is a sweet food, but they add black pepper and spice it up to make it act as a medicine for digestive problems.
3. Lowers blood pressure
It has been found from laboratory experiments that piperine — the main active composite in black pepper — can lower blood pressure in animals, and homogenous effects can be expected in human beings. Ingestion of piperine also had proved to be successful in controlling blood pressure in another study.
4. Promotes weight loss
Piperine in black pepper, the same compound that makes you sneeze, also fights the development of fat cells. Black pepper’s ability to obstruct the generation of fat cells and it’s low-calorie count can help in achieving your weight loss goals.
Adding pepper to your marinades, salad dressings, curries, and sauces may be a good way of incorporating it into your daily diet.
5. Improves fertility in men
Pepper is known to boost testosterone production since it is rich in zinc and magnesium. Hence pepper improves male fertility and increases sperm count, mobility of sperms, and concentration.
6. Relieves cold and cough
Black pepper is antibacterial and therefore helps to cure a cold and cough. A teaspoon of honey with freshly crushed pepper does the trick. It also helps to ease chest congestion, often caused due to pollution, flu, or a viral infection. You can add it to hot water with fresh lime leaves and take steam. Since black pepper is rich in Vitamin C, it also works as a good antibiotic.
7. Improves skin
Did you know that crushed peppercorns are one of the best natural exfoliators? Black pepper is recommended to use for exfoliation with a bit of honey and curd/fresh cream. It also enables blood circulation and oxygenates the skin.
Consuming it with your food also takes care of unappealing skin wrinkles. Black pepper is known to help in rectifying a skin condition where the pigmentation is lost randomly, creating white patches.
8. Enhances brain health
It’s said that black pepper helps to overcome depression. The piperine in it stimulates the brain and helps it to function properly by making it more active.
Piperine also inhibits an enzyme that disrupts the production of dopamine, the feel-good hormone. Dopamine is usually lacking in patients with Parkinson’s and in the patients with depression too.
Black pepper is great for brain health. The piperine in it inhibits an enzyme that is responsible for the break down of serotonin and degrading of the functionality of melatonin. Both of these hormones are essential for exceptional brain functionality.