Black Pepper:

Black Pepper: More than Just Salt's Buddy

Many people are unaware of the numerous health benefits of black pepper. Unlike salt, which can be harmful when added to food, black pepper may actually impart healthful benefits.

Black pepper throughout the ages
In ancient times, black pepper was so valuable it was often used as currency, and it was not unusual to see black pepper offered as a sacrifice to the gods. These days, we are very fortunate that black pepper is plentiful, inexpensive, and available throughout the year.

Black pepper is derived from the pepper plant, a large woody vine that can grow to heights of more than 30 feet in the hot and humid climates of the tropics. These vines start to bear their traditional small white flowers after approximately three or four years. It is these bunches of small white flowers which develop the berries known as peppercorns. It is the ground peppercorns that yield the spice we know as black pepper.

The benefits of black pepper exceed far beyond its ability to add great taste to a wide variety of dishes. Some scientific studies suggest that black pepper may have a number of important health benefits. One of the most important benefits is the abilty to improve digestion and aid the digestive system and intestines.

Digestion and black pepper
Problems with digestion are increasing in frequency, and black pepper seems to be effective in improving the digestion, probably due to the way in which black pepper stimulates the taste buds. This stimulation of the taste buds notifies the stomach to increase its secretion of hydrochloric acid, improving the digestion of food once it reaches the stomach. Insufficient production of stomach acid can lead to heartburn, indigestion, and other eating problems. Black pepper may help to alleviate this dilemmas.

In addition, black pepper is known to reduce the formation of intestinal gas, thus providing a natural solution to an embarrassing problem. This ability is most likely also the result of the stimulation of hydrochloric acid production.

Black pepper has also been shown to have significant antioxidant and antibacterial properties, which are important for fighting disease and maintaining overall good health.

Black pepper is Delicious
Many professional chefs, as well as home cooks, swear by the value of grinding their own peppercorns, and fresh peppercorns are available from supermarkets, organic markets, and the internet. Grinding peppercorns at home certainly provides increased freshness, and there is some thought that the skin of the peppercorn is good at stimulating the metabolism, leading perhaps to a slimmer figure and healthier body.

If you decide to buy your black pepper already ground, however, it is important to buy a quality brand. There are many brands of black pepper in the local supermarket, from the lowest price generic brands to the highest priced gourmet product. While it is not necessary to pay top price for black pepper, it is good to buy your black pepper form a company with a strong reputation for top quality foods.

Disclaimer: Throughout this entire website, statements are made pertaining to the properties and/or functions of food and/or nutritional products. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and these materials and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.