Why Is Black Pepper Good for You?
Why is black pepper good for you?
If you ever wondered if black pepper or white pepper is good for you and if pepper has any health benefits, read on.
Black Peppers are the dried berries from the pepper plant, which are either crushed or ground or used as whole peppers to enhance the flavor and spiciness of food. The berries are generally referred to as peppercorns. When they are unripe, the peppers are green in color, and when they ripe, they turn red in color. The peppercorns are usually sundried which turns them black in color. The dried peppers are either used as such or crushed or ground into pepper powder to be used later. White Pepper is actually the seed inside the peppercorn with the skin removed.
The scientific name for black pepper is Piper Nigrum.
Black pepper is produced in a flowering vine and it is native to South India where it is very widely cultivated. These vines can be seen cultivated among other crops and most usually among the mango trees, even in homes. Since the berry plant is a climber, they are usually planted along with other trees so that the vines will grow and climb in the trees growing there. Even though black pepper is native to South India and India still has large-scale production of black pepper; Vietnam is the leading exporter of black pepper nowadays. The International Pepper Exchange is located in India.
In the above black and white picture of black pepper plantations from Wikimedia Commons Image, you can see that black pepper vines climbed into the trees. These plants are suitable to be grown in tropical climates.
So why is black pepper good for you?
Black Pepper Is Rich in Nutrients
Black pepper, one of the most expensive spices in the world, is rich in vitamins and minerals. It is a very good source of manganese, vitamin K, iron, copper, and calcium. It is also rich in fiber, which makes it good for the health of our digestive system. Black pepper also contains lots of powerful antioxidants.
Medicinal Uses and Health Benefits
The antioxidants and nutrients present in black pepper make it an excellent spice to be used in food, which improves digestive health and also cardiac health.
The antibacterial properties of black pepper are also very well known and it has been used in traditional alternative medicines for a very long time. Including black pepper in diet can improve the overall immunity which can protect you from cold, cough, and throat infections. As a natural home remedy for a cough, it is suggested to take a pinch of black pepper with a tablespoon of honey, which will also give you relief from a cold and sore throat.
Adding black pepper to food can also help your body absorb the maximum nutrients from food. The outer layer of the pepper stimulates the break down of fat cells and thus reduce cholesterol and can help you keep your weight under control.
The use of excessive amounts of black pepper may not be advisable due to the presence of tiny amounts of safrole, which is also present in many other spices and herbs. But anything in moderation is the key!
How to enjoy black pepper in food?
Black pepper can be used as whole peppercorns, as crushed pepper, or ground powdered pepper in food, even as white pepper for its distinct flavor. Even though black pepper itself is more popular, white pepper is also popular in Chinese cuisine, traditional French cuisine, Swedish recipes, and also Vietnamese preparations. White pepper is especially suitable for white colored soups and dips and also mashed potatoes.
- Try adding black pepper to soups, stews, and dips
- Try flavoring omelets and other egg dishes with ground black pepper
- Sprinkle in salad dressings along with olive oil, salt, and lemon juice
- Add a pinch of ground pepper to your tea or coffee for an exotic drink
- Spice up roasted nuts using black pepper powder
Or, try adding them in any food where you want spiciness and unique flavor!
Do you prefer the flavor of Black Pepper or White Pepper?
The "Black Gold" From Ancient Times
Black pepper is one of the most expensive spices in the world, owing to the intensive manual labor it needs including the processing and transportation costs (small yield and high demand). From ancient times itself, black pepper was considered very valuable and often used in trades as a form of commodity money. Black pepper was also called "Black Gold" due to its high price.