The next time you relegate black pepper to the back of your shelf, think twice. This humble spice holds more benefits than you'd think. A pinch of black pepper added to any recipe works as more than just a flavor enhancer. This king of spices is known to offer a number of health benefits while providing an excellent depth of flavor to a dish.
Here's are some reasons to sprinkle some more -
Helps Prevent Cancer
The piperine in black pepper can be credited with the prevention of cancer, and becomes twice as potent when combined with turmeric. The spice also has Vitamin C, Vitamin A, flavonoids, carotenes and other anti-oxidants that help remove harmful free radicals and protect the body from cancers and diseases. The best way to eat pepper to harness maximum benefits is to eat freshly ground pepper, and not cook it along with food.
Again, the piperine in black pepper eases digestion and stimulates the stomach, which then secretes more hydrochloric acid that helps to digest proteins in food. So a bit of pepper in food will actually help you to digest it faster.
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 to it. 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.
Relieves Cold And Cough
Black pepper is antibacterial in nature, and therefore helps to cure cold and cough. A teaspoon of honey with freshly crushed pepper does the trick. It also helps to alleviate chest congestion, often caused due to pollution, flu, or a viral infection. You can add it to hot water and eucalyptus oil and take steam. And given that black pepper is rich in Vitamin C, it also works as a good antibiotic.
Enables weight loss
You might not want to believe this, but black pepper is brilliant when it comes to extracting nutrients from food. And it's outermost layer contains phytonutrients, which helps to break down fat cells, and also increases metabolism. If you eat fresh pepper, and begin to perspire, that's the pepper helping your body to get rid of excess water and toxins. But you need to control consumption - a pinch with your food (one meal) is enough.
It's said that the piperine in black pepper helps to deal with depression. It stimulates the brain, and helps it to function properly by making it more active.