Salt and pepper – it’s the key spice combo that goes in pretty much everything. We tend to use it without really thinking about it, but pepper actually has a host of incredible health benefits. A member of the Piperaceae family, pepper can be processed several ways to produce different results.
Your standard black pepper comes from the cooked and dried fruit of the pepper plant, whereas white pepper comes from the seeds in the ripe fruit. But today we are going to focus on the health benefits of good old black pepper. It’s so easy to reap the benefits that you’ll never skip the “P” in S&P again.1. May prevent cancer
Let’s get right into it with a biggie. Black pepper contains a substance called piperine, which is credited with many of its health benefits. Piperine has been found to reduce your risk of cancer, and the preventative function is twice as strong when pepper is combined with turmeric. That’s because turmeric contains curcumin, which is difficult for the body to absorb without some piperine present.
Pepper also has vitamin C, vitamin A, flavonoids, and carotenes, all potent antioxidants that provide protection against carcinogenic free radicals. Get the best benefit from all that goodness by using freshly ground black pepper on your food after it has been cooked.
2. Stimulates digestion
It’s piperine to the rescue again, stimulating the stomach to secrete more gastric acid for the digestion of proteins in your food. It stimulates the digestive enzymes in the pancreas, too. Piperine also increases the flow of saliva – the first element in digestion along with your teeth.
Easier digestion means more comfort for you as the meal moves out of your stomach faster and easier. With an assist from pepper, you can start using the energy from your food that much quicker.
3. Relieves cold and cough
Not just a tasty seasoning, black pepper is also antibacterial in nature and can help to minimize the impact of a cold and cough. Some people swear by a teaspoon of honey with a bit of fresh black pepper for an all-natural cold remedy.
You can also steep honey and pepper in hot water to make a tea rather than take it straight. Pepper can also help to alleviate chest congestion when breathed in a steam. Pepper appears to work best for wet coughs rather than dry.