Black pepper is one of the most common spices in the world today. It sits on just about every dinner table accompanied by its best friend, salt. However, this pre-crushed pepper contains little more nutritional value than sawdust. In fact, it may even be mixed with some. A lot of manufacturers these days mix crushed black pepper with other substances to increase their volume and hence, profits. That is why it is always best to buy a pepper crusher with whole peppercorns.
These little black (and pink and green) little spices contain a tremendous amount of health benefits that you wouldn’t even think of considering their small size. So, next time you cook up a steak, sprinkle some freshly crushed black pepper on top and pour on the peppercorn gravy!
Here are just a few benefits of this magical little spice.
Pepper is an incredibly useful tool for improving your digestive health. Pepper increases the secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. This acid is responsible for the proper breakdown and digestion of food, which helps the food release its nutrients. If you are experiencing bloating, gas or other digestive disorders, try adding some black pepper into your meals.
Improves heart health
Pepper acts in a similar way to fiber in the body. It gets rid of excess LDL cholesterol within the body which helps to keep your arteries clean. This reduces the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
Improves cognitive function
Piperine, the alkaloid that is responsible for the pungency of black pepper, has been shown to significantly improve memory recall and fight against cognitive decline. Piperine stimulates the chemical pathways in the brain and therefore, helps to fight against Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Improves respiratory health
Ever had a high pepper food and notice that your nasal pathways cleared right up? Well, that is because pepper has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine as a cure for the common cold, sinusitis and other respiratory disorders. It helps to helps break up the mucus and phlegm deposits in the respiratory tract, which you expel through sneezing and/or coughing.
This is one that is very useful for the fitness junkies who like to pop a pill or two. Taking your supplements with pepper is known to improve the bioavailability of that particular supplement. This is why a lot of supplements and prohormones these days have added black pepper aka pepper nigrum aka Bioperine to their capsules.
Pepper also improves the bioavailability of herbs, which helps to increase their healing nutritional benefits.