Black pepper is an essential spice in the culinary world, being one of the more versatile spices that can be added to almost any dish. Its flavor has a touch of spiciness, giving black pepper its addictive sharp kick that comes with every tantalizing bite of the dish. Not only does it make for a good ingredient for any recipe, but it has also been used for medicinal purposes during the ancient Ayurvedic times. Apparently, the Piper nigrum, the plant that black pepper is derived from, offers tons of beneficial plant compounds; here are ten surprising health benefits of black pepper, read on to find out why black pepper is good for you!
1. It Contains Antioxidants
Black pepper contains piperine, the plant-based compound, that is responsible for its antioxidant properties — it is what keeps the free radicals at bay and helps reduce damage caused by the free radicals. Since it is inevitable that our body contains free radicals, given that they are naturally produced by our bodies during exercise and digestion, incorporating antioxidants in our food would be extremely useful to combat the side effects of having these unstable molecules in the body. Even if black pepper doesn’t contain enough antioxidants to fully fight off all the free radicals, it does, for the most part, delay and prevents the damaging effects of it to a certain extent — which beats having no antioxidants at all, so remember to add black pepper into your dishes whenever you can!
2. It Has Anti-inflammatory Effects
Piperine also gives black pepper its anti-inflammatory properties and this helps with any chronic inflammation that underlies many health issues. When laboratory research was conducted to determine the effects of piperine on rats suffering from arthritis, scientists found that there were improvements in swelling joints and there were fewer indicators of inflammation. So far, the good news is that piperine has helped to suppress most inflammation in the airways of mice affected by allergies and asthma; even if the effects of piperine has yet to be studied in people, you can rest assured that including black pepper will bring you some health benefits!
3. Benefits The Brain
Black pepper was seen to improve the brain function of rats, showing signs of potential benefit for some degenerative brain conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or the more common Alzheimers. This due to the active compound of piperine that helps to decrease the formation of the amyloid plaques. The amyloid plaques are culprits associated with damaging protein fragments in the brain. While it is true that further studies have to be done to examine the impacts of piperine on humans, you now have an additional reason to add more black pepper into your homemade specialties.
4. Aids Blood Sugar Control
In this study, other active plant compounds were used alongside black pepper to understand if blood sugar control can be improved with spices. The results yielded positive results that it does aid blood sugar metabolic rate and this proved true for both animals and humans. When 86 people took the supplement that contained the studied plant compounds across 8 weeks, insulin sensitivity was observed. Hence, it was deduced that the black pepper extract does indeed help people control their blood sugar levels — yet another amazing health benefit of black pepper!
5. It Lowers Cholesterol Levels
You’ll be glad to know that your cholesterol levels can benefit from meals spiced with black pepper! When rats underdoing a high-fat diet were given black pepper extract, both their blood and LDL cholesterol levels were observed to have dropped. Thus, as black pepper is strongly believed to promote better cholesterol health in rodents, food scientists also believe that the same benefits can be enjoyed in humans too.
6. It Helps To Combat Cancer Cells
Certain test-tube studies were conducted and the findings were recorded: piperine is able to slow down the propagation of cancer cells and in particular prostate, breast and colon cancer. In another laboratory research that screened 50 over spice compounds, piperine emerged at the top of the list for being the best at supplementing the effectiveness of treatment against triple-negative breast cancer, which is also the most aggressive cancer type among others. Additionally, other than helping to enrich the effects of cancer treatment, piperine is also capable of reversing certain multidrug resistance too; and because of this discovery, more research efforts are now underway to better understand how much piperine can aid cancer patients in their recovery journey.
7. Boosts Nutrient Absorption
Black pepper helps increase one’s absorption of key nutrients such as selenium and calcium but that’s not all; it also helps to boost the absorption of other spices as well, so your body can fully soak up all the health benefits of the other health foods like the red yeast rice and turmeric.
8. Promotes Better Gut Health
It’s crucial to maintain one’s gut health because the bacteria found in the gut can affect moods, the immune system, and chronic diseases. Some preliminary research was conducted and findings suggested that black pepper can possibly increase the production of the good bacteria in the gut.
9. Offers Pain Relief
Although more studies need to be done to determine how piperine can offer pain relief to humans, rodent studies proved the piperine compound found in black pepper can act as natural pain relief.
10. Can Help Curb Appetite
A small group of 16 adults was given a beverage that contained black-pepper extract and it was reported that they felt a reduced appetite. Yet, when other studies were conducted, the results did not prove to be the same. Despite this, the hypothesis still remains that black pepper can curb appetite issues — don’t be afraid to generously pepper your dishes when you’re trying out a new diet plan! To know more, click to find out here!
Black pepper is your best bet when you’re trying to garnish your dishes; it has got a subtle, bold kick that will definitely enhance the aromatic flavors of savory cuisine. As if this wasn’t a good reason to justify the dash of pepper you’ve added, its potential health benefits make it all the better! Notwithstanding that further research should be conducted, black pepper nevertheless promises extraordinary health benefits — even if it’s just a little, a little does go a long way!