Do you have a limit for how much spice you put in your food? Because for me, that limit does not exist. Food is so much better when you’ve mixed up different flavours that complement each other to bring out a rich meal. Not everyone’s palette is like that though, but these spices have so many benefits and if not for the taste, then you might want to use them for their nutritional benefits.
Pepper is one of the most popular spices in the world. Both black and white peppercorns are berries from the Piper nigrum plant. The primary difference between the two is a matter of processing. Other than a slight difference in taste, the key differences between the two are that black pepper is hotter and lasts longer. The spice is native to Southern India. Today, it is grown throughout the tropics. Archaeological evidence of people using pepper goes back to at least 2000 BC in India.
Here are some of the benefits of pepper.
- Treats sinusitis and other respiratory diseases
Sinusitis is an extremely irritating condition where the cavities around the nasal passages become inflamed causing headaches, facial pain, runny nose, and nasal congestion. Other than this, the common cold which is an Upper Respiratory Infection can have you bedridden for days. Pepper stimulates circulation and mucus flow. It contains a chemical called piperine that reduces pain, improves breathing, and reduces inflammation.
Place 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper and 2 tablespoons of honey in a cup. Fill with boiling water and steep for 15 minutes. Strain and sip.
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- Digestive health
There are a number of conditions that may arise from poor digestive health, including constipation, stomach upsets, and poor gut health. Research suggests that pepper may increase the good bacteria in your gut. Consuming pepper stimulates the release of enzymes in your pancreas and intestines that help to digest fat and carbs. When it is consumed raw, hydrochloric acid is released by the stomach and helps in breaking down the proteins, cleaning your intestines, and barricading you from other gastrointestinal diseases. Pepper can also help to treat constipation. However, excessive consumption can be harmful to you, so make sure you just add a pinch of it in your daily food.
- Weight loss
If you are looking to lose weight, then you might want to try adding pepper to your diet. This spice has a rich content of phytonutrients in it that helps in breaking down on excess fat. Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner Shilpa Arora ND says, “Black pepper contains piperine, a compound that enhances metabolic performance and suppresses fat accumulation in the body. Black pepper tea works very well in managing obesity.”
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- Lowers cholesterol levels
Bad cholesterol clogs the blood vessels and thereby inhibiting the free flow of blood. The body makes all the cholesterol that it needs, so eating foods that are high in cholesterol can be dangerous. The good news? Pepper can sort that out. In one 42-day study, rats fed a high-fat diet and a black pepper extract had decreased blood cholesterol levels, including LDL (bad) cholesterol. The same effects were not seen in the control group. Additionally, piperine is believed to boost the absorption of dietary supplements that have potential cholesterol-lowering effects like turmeric and red yeast rice.
- Blood Sugar control
Diabetes is a condition that impairs the body’s ability to process blood glucose, otherwise known as blood sugar. It is characterized by high (hyperglycemia) or low (hypoglycemia) levels of glucose in the blood, and therefore exhibits symptoms such as frequent urination, frequent thirst, extreme hunger, extreme fatigue, blurry vision, and weight loss. If not managed properly, it can damage organs and eventually lead to death. According to a 2013 study, black pepper oil naturally inhibits two enzymes that break down starch into glucose. This effect may help regulate blood glucose and delay glucose absorption.
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- Cancer-fighting properties
Cancer is a deadly disease characterized by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells anywhere in a body. A study found that piperine can modify the activity of many enzymes and transcription factors to inhibit invasion, metastasis, and angiogenesis (cancer stages). Though no human trials have been performed, test-tube studies found that piperine slowed the replication of breast, prostate, and colon cancer cells and induced cancer cell death. To add on to that, piperine has shown promising effects in laboratory studies for reversing multidrug resistance in cancer cells which is an issue that interferes with the efficacy of chemotherapy treatment.
You can use pepper for cooking but you can also add some to some hot beverages. 5 Different Ways To Cook Pilau
Check out these other spices which have numerous benefits as well- cloves, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, dhania, cardamom, cayenne pepper and garlic.