Incorporating spices into our meals isn’t just about adding flavour; it’s a journey toward better health. In India, meals are incomplete without the addition of spices, and one such remarkable spice that we use in our daily routine is black pepper. Black pepper is a powerhouse of health benefits that has been treasured for centuries. From improving digestion to combating cold and flu, black pepper deserves a prominent place in our kitchen. Black pepper, scientifically known as Piper nigrum, is one of the most commonly used spices. Its distinctive pungent flavour and spicy aroma make it a staple in various cuisines. Let’s take a look at the four types of pepper:
Black peppercorns: These are the most common and widely used form of black pepper. They are dried, unripe pepper fruits that are later ground into fine powder.
White peppercorns: White pepper is derived from ripe pepper fruits with the outer skin removed. It has a milder flavour compared to black peppercorns.
Green peppercorns: Green peppercorns are unripe pepper fruits that are preserved in brine or freeze-dried. They have a fresher and less pungent taste.
Red peppercorns : These ripe pe pper berries are preserved in brine. They have a sweet and mildly spicy flavour. Black pepper offers much more than just taste; it plays a vital role in improving our overall health.
Let’s explore the various types of black pepper and delve into the incredible health benefits it brings to the table.
Aiding digestion: Black pepper contains piperine, which stimulates the secretion of digestive enzymes, thereby improving digestion. This improved enzymatic activity enables the body to absorb essential nutrients effectively. Plus, pepper helps prevent digestive issues by promoting the harmonious functioning of the digestive system. Combining black pepper with ghee can promote gut well-being.
Headache and migraine relief: Soaking three black peppercorns in water and consuming it first thing in the morning can help alleviate headaches and migraines. Piperine stimulates the nervous system, increasing blood circulation and relieving tension. When consumed, black pepper can dilate blood vessels, allowing a smoother flow of blood to the brain.
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Metabolism booster: All thanks to piperine that triggers a thermogenic effect in the body, increasing metabolism and enhancing calorie burn. This thermogenic property prompts the body to generate more heat, leading to improved metabolic rates and fat breakdown. You can either add a pinch of pepper powder in your morninglemon water to get the benefits, or a combination of ginger, tulsi, cinnamon, and black pepper boiled in water works wonders in boosting metabolism.
Rich in antioxidants and immune boosting properties: Black pepper is a rich source of antioxidants like vitamin C and flavonoids that combat free radicals in the body and help improve the immune system. Black pepper, when mixed with honey, acts as a potent antibacterial and antifungal remedy for cold, flu, and sore throat. This mixture can be made into a soothing tea by adding ginger and raw unpasteurised honey to boiling water. Black pepper is not just a spice but a treasure trove of health benefits. The next time you season your food, remember the incredible virtues of black pepper and let it be a vital ingredient in your journey to better health.