Black pepper is a spice that is known for its unique taste and Aroma and provides many health benefits because of the abundance of healthy compounds in them. It is scientifically known as Piper nigrum and is a flowering vine that is cultivated for its fruit. Once dried this fruit can be used as a spice and for food seasoning.
Dried pepper is also known as peppercorn and is available in three varieties black, green and white.
Black pepper is native to South India and other parts of South Asia and has been used in Indian kitchens for centuries. Pepper is one of the most widely exported spices from India.
Black pepper is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, vitamin k, iron, and dietary fibers that provides numerous health benefits. It is also a good source of piperine which is an Essential oil that helps with muscular pain, digestive issues, and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
It strengthens our immunity and is also effective against fever because of its antimicrobial properties.
Health Benefits of Black Pepper
Table of Contents
Black pepper is a good source of several nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidantal compounds that provides numerous health benefits. Piperine present in the black pepper is antibacterial and antioxidantal in nature. Some other major health benefits of black pepper are as follows:
(1) Reduces the risk of various cancers
Black pepper is very effective in reducing the risk of various cancers because of the presence of antioxidants and related compounds in them. These antioxidants protect our cells and tissues from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals and thus reduces the risk of various cancers.
Piperine, an antioxidant present in the black pepper, increases the absorption of various nutrients like selenium, curcumin, beta carotene, and vitamin B complex in our Intestines. These nutrients are vital for our gut health and the prevention of cancers related to the digestive tract.
As per the observations of a Canadian study, it was found that piperine helps prevent colon cancer by reducing the stress on the rectum, and is also effective against prostate cancer. Also, it was found to be effective in enhancing the performance of docetaxel, a chemotherapy medication used for the treatment of prostate cancer.
(2) Promotes Digestive Health
Black pepper is very beneficial for our digestive health as it stimulates the digestive juices and digestive enzymes and thus promotes digestion. Adding black pepper to meals enhances our body’s ability to properly break down food in the digestive tract and helps with digestion. Studies have also shown that adding black pepper to the diet shows a positive impact on the pancreatic enzymes and thus improves our overall digestive system.
The carminative properties of the black pepper helps relieve stomach gas and are also effective against flatulence and colicky pain.
The antioxidant compounds in the black pepper protect our digestive system from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals in the body and thus reduce the risk of stomach cancer, colon cancer, intestinal cancer, and pancreatic cancer, etc.
The dietary fibers in the black pepper work as a natural laxative that improves bowel movement and minimizes the risk of constipation and other digestive issues such as abdominal pain, gas bloating and digestion, and flatulence, etc.
(3) Prevents Hypertension
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a common health problem that affects millions of people around the world and is a leading cause of various cardiovascular problems such as heart attack, heart stroke, irregular heartbeat, coronary artery disease, and so on.
To enjoy a healthy life, it is important to keep our blood pressure under control and black pepper can help in doing the same. The piperine present in the black pepper may help reduce blood pressure and thus reduces the risk of hypertension.
In addition to this, black pepper also contains potassium which is a natural vasodilator that relaxes our blood vessels, improves blood circulation, and thus helps in keeping blood pressure under control.
With that being said, if you are already taking medication for regulating blood pressure levels then you should consult with your healthcare provider about the inclusion of black pepper in your diet.
(4) Relieves Cold and Cough
Black pepper is very effective in providing relief from cold and cough because of its ability to stimulate the flow and circulation of the mucous.
Black pepper can also be combined with honey, a natural cough suppressant to enhance its effectiveness against cough and cold.
For this, take one cup of boiling water, and add one teaspoon of powdered black pepper and 2 tablespoons of honey to it. Mix them properly, and cover the water-filled cup. Let it steep for 15 minutes, and then strain and drink the water sip by sip. Using this remedy thrice a day will help clear out congestion and sinuses, thereby giving you relief from cough and cold.
Black pepper is also helpful against asthma and other respiratory ailments like whooping cough because of its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
(5) Promotes Weight Loss
Another advantage of black pepper is its effectiveness in weight loss. If you would like to get rid of some extra pounds and cut down the stubborn fat from your body then it’s a good idea to add this magical spice to your meals.
The piperine in the black pepper controls the formation of fat cells in the body and thus helps with weight management.
Adding a simple dash of black pepper and squeezing a lemon on your favorite chicken or grilled vegetable is a much better alternative in comparison to the calorie-heavy Italian dressing. One teaspoon of black pepper only provides 8 calories of energy which is very low in comparison to other food dressings available in the market.
(6) Provides Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
The anti-inflammatory property of the piperine present in the black pepper may help provide relief from the pain and inflammation caused by inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, rheumatism, rheumatoid, gouts, asthma and bronchial asthma, etc. Studies conducted on rats with arthritis found that piperine present in the black pepper was effective in reducing swelling of the joints, and also lowered blood markers of the inflammation.
In another study on mice, it was observed that piperine is also effective in reducing the inflammation of the airways caused by asthma and seasonal allergies.
(7) Provides Antioxidantal Benefits
Free radicals are nothing but the unstabilized ions that get formed in our body during the oxidation process. Other factors such as pollution, cigarette smoke, and sun rays also contribute to the buildup of excessive free radicals in the body. Excessive free radicals are bad for us as they can trigger various issues such as inflammation, premature aging, cardiovascular issues, and even some forms of cancers.
To lead a healthy life, it is important to protect our cells and tissues from the free radicals’ damage, and black pepper can help in doing the same.
Antioxidants such as piperine present in the black pepper protect our cells and tissues from oxidative damage by stabilizing the free radicals.
Protecting our cells and tissues from oxidative damage reduces the risk of various cancers and as well as provides other benefits such as reduced inflammation, keeping premature aging at bay, keeping age-related macular degeneration at bay, better cardiovascular health, and so on.
Black peppers are also rich in phenolic compounds that provide amazing health benefits.
The piperine present in the black pepper increases the bioavailability of nutrients in various foods and supplements. For example, it can increase the absorption of curcumin in turmeric by up to 2000%.
(8) Boost immunity
Our immune system is a defense mechanism of our body that protects us from disease-causing microbes such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, etc.
Even when we get sick or sustain an injury, it’s the immune system that makes us healthy again.
Given the importance of the immune system for our health, it is important to take good care of it and black pepper can help in doing the same.
This benefit of black pepper is mainly due to the presence of antioxidant compounds such as piperine in it.
These compounds fight with the free radicals in our system stabilizes them and prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our cells including the white blood cells that form the backbone of the immune system and is also known as the first line of defense.
By protecting our immune system from oxidative damage, black pepper strengthens it, and when our immune system is stronger we are less likely to get infected by cough, cold, fever, and flu, etc.
(9) Manages cholesterol level
Another advantage of black pepper is its ability to manage our cholesterol level as it reduces the level of bad LDL cholesterol and increases the level of good HDL cholesterol in our system.
Proper management of cholesterol is important for leading a healthy life as otherwise excessive bad cholesterol may give rise to cardiovascular issues such as heart attack, heart stroke, and so on.
Bad cholesterol may accumulate in the inner lining of the artery walls and thereby increasing the risk of atherosclerosis, hardening and narrowing of the arteries due to the accumulation of plaque and fat deposits in them, and is a leading cause of various cardiovascular issues.
Piperine, an important antioxidant present in the black pepper can increase our body’s ability to increase absorption of anti-cholesterol dietary supplements like curcumin in turmeric.
In India, it’s common to use both turmeric and black pepper to enhance the taste and aroma of the dish, and at the same time enjoy the amazing benefits provided by these spices.
When black pepper is added to the dish along with the turmeric then it enhances the effectiveness of turmeric for lowering bad cholesterol.
Studies have found that black pepper can increase the absorption of curcumin in turmeric by up to 2000%.
(10) Improves Oral Health
The antibacterial properties of the black pepper make it very beneficial for fighting against infections of the teeth and gums, and it also provides relief from a toothache because of its anti-inflammatory properties. For this reason, many massaging mixtures have black pepper as the main ingredient.
The anti-inflammatory nature of the black pepper helps in providing relief from gum inflammation.
For using black pepper for oral health, simply mix equal amounts of salt and powdered black pepper in the water, and rub the mixture on your gums. This will provide relief from the inflammation of the gums.
Similarly, for toothache, mix powdered black pepper with clove oil, and apply to the affected area.
These are general home remedies, and there is limited research on these remedies. It is suggested to consult your doctor before giving these remedies a try.
(11) Fights Infections
The antibacterial properties of the black pepper make it very effective for fighting against various bacterial infections.
In a South African study, it was observed that the piperine in the black pepper possesses larvicidal effects and thus helps in preventing infection and spread of the disease.
(12) Improves Male Fertility
Black pepper is very beneficial for improving male fertility due to the presence of vital minerals such as zinc and magnesium in it. Zinc and magnesium are two critical minerals for male sex hormones, testosterone as it increases testosterone levels in us. It also increases sperm count and concentration. And the zinc helps with the development and mobility of the sperms.
Antioxidants like piperine in the black pepper are also effective for protecting our sperm cells from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals, and thus maintains our sexual health.
(13) Enhances Brain Health
Black pepper is very beneficial for enhancing our brain health because of the antioxidantal compounds such as piperine in it. Piperine is very effective in controlling the enzyme responsible for breaking down serotonin (calming neurotransmitter in the brain). This enzyme is also known to degrade the functioning of melatonin, a hormone responsible for maintaining sleep cycles in the body, and deteriorates the quality of our sleep.
Piperine is also effective against Parkinson’s disease as it inhibits the enzyme responsible for disrupting the production of dopamine, a feel-good hormone in the body. Dopamine plays an important role in maintaining our mental health, and lack of it may increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Additionally, antioxidantal compounds like piperine in the black pepper protect our cells, including the brain cells from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals, and thus reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, amnesia, and dementia, etc. Black pepper may enhance nerve activity in the brain and may alleviate seizures. It can prevent our nerve cells from premature death.
As per an Indian study, it was found that piperine in the black pepper is very effective in decreasing the formation of amyloid plaque(a misfolded protein that forms between the nerve cells and thought to play a central role in Alzheimer’s disease. ) and may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
(14) Regulates Blood Sugar Level
Black pepper is very beneficial for regulating our blood sugar level due to the presence of antioxidantal compounds like piperine in it. Studies have found that consuming black pepper may inhibit some of the enzymes responsible for breaking down starch into glucose. This slows down the rate at which sugar is released into the bloodstream, prevents a sudden spike in the blood sugar level, and thus helps in managing diabetes.
Black peppers can also slow down the rate at which sugar is absorbed by the bloodstream because of the dietary fibers in them.
Piperine present in the black pepper acts as a catalyst which means it increases the effectiveness of the nutrients present in the food and dietary supplements.
If you are already taking diabetes medication, then it is suggested to add black pepper to your meal only after consulting with your doctor. This is because piperine in the black pepper may increase the effectiveness of diabetes medication such as metformin. When taken together, these two may drop your blood sugar level to an abnormally low level giving rise to hypoglycemia, with symptoms such as fatigue, shakiness, pale skin, anxiety, excessive hunger, excessive sweating, irritability, blurred vision, seizures, and loss of consciousness, etc.
(15) Helps Quit Smoking
Cigarette smoking is injurious to our health as it has more than 3000 harmful chemicals ranging from Nicotine, hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde, lead, arsenic, ammonia, and benzene, etc. These harsh chemicals can deteriorate our health, and thereby increases the risk of various cancers such as lung cancer, mouth cancer, throat cancer, voice box cancer, esophagus cancer, pancreatic cancer, cervical cancer, and colon cancer, etc.
For healthy living, it is suggested to say “No” to cigarettes. However, if you are a smoker then it’s easier said than done as the nicotine in the cigarettes is an addictive compound. Once our body gets used to nicotine, it will carve for it and in the absence of nicotine, it may give rise to withdrawal symptoms such as increased appetite, increased craving for carbs and sugars, resulting in weight gain, nicotine craving, coughing, headaches and dizziness, fatigue and constipation.
These withdrawal symptoms are not permanent, and may only last for one to three months. With every passing day, your body and brain will get better at handling cravings.
Managing these withdrawal symptoms is important to ensure that you don’t again fall into the vicious cycle of smoking.
Black pepper is effective in managing withdrawal symptoms one may experience after quitting smoking. Studies have found that consuming black pepper and as well as inhaling black pepper vapor is effective in reducing cigarette craving, and for dealing with other withdrawal symptoms.
Beauty Benefits of Black Pepper
Black pepper is loaded with essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients, etc that provide numerous benefits for us. The benefits of black pepper are not just limited to health and they are also good for our skin and hair. Some of the ways black pepper can help our skin and hair are as follows
(1) Natural skin exfoliator
Black pepper is a wonderful natural skin exfoliator that helps efficiently remove dead skin cells.
Removal of dead skin is important for our skin health as otherwise, it can make our skin dry and dull.
When dead skin is removed, it gets replaced by new skin cells that make our skin soft, supple, and radiant and thus improves our skin health.
To use black pepper for skin exfoliation, take half a teaspoon of powdered black pepper, and add one teaspoon of yogurt to it. Mix them properly, and apply on the face.
Let it air dry for 20 minutes and then wash off with water.
Using this face pack regularly helps remove dead skin cells and toxins from our skin, and make our skin soft and radiant.
Massaging with a black pepper face pack also improves blood circulation, and thus provides more nutrients and oxygen to our skin.
It is also effective against skin problems such as acne and pimples because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
(2) Keeps Premature Aging At Bay
Consumption of black pepper is good for our skin health as it helps keep premature aging at bay.
This advantage of black pepper is mainly due to the presence of antioxidantal compounds such as piperine in it. These antioxidants and relevant compounds protect our skin cells from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals and this helps in keeping various signs of premature aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, dark spots, skin blemishes, etc at bay.
Other nutrients like zinc magnesium, vitamin B complex, etc also play a major role in improving our skin health.
The simplest method to benefit from the anti-aging properties of the black pepper is to add this magical spice to your meals.
If you are looking for a topical solution then take one teaspoon of powdered black pepper and add one teaspoon of honey or turmeric. add some water for smoothness and consistency and mix all the ingredients to form a paste.
Apply it on your face and let it air dry for 10 to 15 minutes, and then wash off with water.
Regular use will minimize fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and other signs of aging.
(3) Cures Vitiligo
Black pepper is also effective for curing vitiligo, which is a skin condition that causes our skin to lose its pigmentation in certain areas. When the natural pigmentation of the skin is lost it turns white.
Most of the treatments used for curing this skin disease involve the use of Harsh chemicals, however, this is not the case with black pepper.
The piperine present in the black pepper is responsible for this advantage.
(4) Make hair soft and lustrous
Another advantage of black pepper is the ability to make our hair soft and lustrous. This is due to the abundance of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants such as piperine in them.
These compounds provide nourishment to our hair follicles and scalp and keep them healthy.
To make hair soft and shiny, take one teaspoon of powdered black pepper seeds and add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to it. Mix them thoroughly and apply on the scalp. Let it dry for 10 to 15 minutes and then wash off with cold water. It will make your hair soft and lustrous.
Alternatively, you can mix one teaspoon of powdered black pepper with an equal amount of honey and apply it to the hair. This will strengthen your hair follicles, reduce hair fall, and help prevent baldness.
(5) Treats Dandruff
Black pepper is also effective for treating dandruff, a common scalp problem that affects millions of people around the world.
It is mainly caused by poor scalp health.
The antioxidants in the black pepper protect our hair follicles and scalp from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals, and the antimicrobial properties of it protect our scalp from microbial damage.
It improves blood circulation in the scalp, provides nutrients to our scalp and hair follicles, and keeps them healthy.
To use black pepper for dandruff treatment, properly mix one teaspoon of powder black pepper into a bowl of curd. Apply it on your scalp and let it nourish your scalp for 30 minutes and then wash off with water. On the next day, you may shampoo depending on your liking, but avoid shampooing on the very day of applying the mixture.
Excessive black pepper or overdoing it too much may cause a burning sensation in the scalp, causing discomfort, and should be avoided.
Nutrients in Black Pepper
Black pepper is an excellent source of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants phytonutrients and polyphenols, etc that provides numerous benefits. One tablespoon (6 grams) of black pepper provides 15.9 calories of energy, 4.1 grams of carbohydrates, 3 milligrams of sodium, 4 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, and absolutely no fat and cholesterol.
It is also a good source of vitamin C calcium and iron and fulfills daily requirements of vitamin C by 2%, calcium requirement by 3%, and iron requirement by 10%. It also contains about 0.7 grams of protein.
Despite this rich nutritious profile black pepper should be consumed in moderation as it is a spice and not a food.
The best thing about Black pepper is that not only it directly helps our health but also improves the effectiveness of other healthy products and compounds such as turmeric cinnamon fenugreek and cumin etc.
Points To Remember
- Black pepper or powdered black pepper can cause redness of the eyes and burning sensation in the eyes, if they somehow enter our eyes, like rubbing eyes while handling black pepper
- Despite the amazing benefits provided by black pepper, it is suggested not to consume them during pregnancy as higher doses can increase the risk of miscarriage. Studies on the effectiveness of black pepper during pregnancy are limited, and for a safer side, it is suggested to consume it in moderation and only after a doctor’s consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Black Pepper Can I Take In A Day?
Black pepper is not a food, but spice and should be consumed in small quantities. There is no detailed study in this regard, and it is suggested to follow your physician’s advice.
Is Black Pepper Bad For Kidneys?
In some individuals, black pepper may increase the risk of kidney stones development due to the presence of oxalates in them. So, if you are suffering from kidney disorders, then it is advised to consult with your doctor before adding black pepper to your meals.
Is It Good To Take Black Pepper In The Morning?
Depending on the individual, it may or may not be safe to consume black pepper on an empty stomach. People with a weak digestive system may experience stomach discomfort and gastric issues while consuming black pepper on an empty stomach, and for some people, there is no such issue.
If you don’t experience any kind of pain or discomfort after eating black pepper on an empty stomach, then you can give it a try, but make sure to limit it to 2-3 black pepper per day.
The information contained in the post is for general purposes only and shouldn’t be considered as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Although I’ve tried my best to keep the information contained in this post as accurate and updated as possible, I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.
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