15 health benefits of black pepper- Nutrition facts and uses

Did you know that salt actually deadens and dulls your taste buds ? This is one reason why those who salt their food before even tasting it will say, “It doesn’t taste good without it” or “It is too bland without salt.” 

Even if we are aware of the risks associated with the frequent use of salt in our food, we still use too much.

What do we use instead? Black pepper – the king of spices. 

15 Health Benefits of Black Pepper

It turns out black pepper serves up all sorts of health benefits including improved digestion, helps relieve coughs and colds, treats skin problems, and boosts metabolism to enhance weight loss efforts.  We don’t miss the salt at all and our food tastes just as good seasoned with black pepper powder.

An added bonus is black pepper contains dietary fiber with a small amount of protein and carbohydrate. It is loaded with minerals including calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and sodium (but in moderate levels). Don’t forget to add finger millet and lemon juice to your diet.

We recently answered two burning questions:

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, black pepper also contains vitamin B6, E, K, and folate as well black pas niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin. Looks like a Superfood, isn’t it ?

1. Loaded with antioxidants

All of us are exposed to free radicals (toxins, chemicals, and pollutants) every single day that can damage our healthy cells. Black pepper can help repair that damage and in turn, help reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases. 

2. Enhances digestion

Black pepper stimulates the entire digestive system, from the salivary glands to the large intestine including the all-important digestive juices such as bile and acids that help digest our food.

Those dealing with ulcers, either in the mouth or digestive system, or have been instructed to be on a bland diet, black pepper makes a delicious, healthy alternative to chili peppers, for example, and will add great flavor to any meal.

3. Helps you sweat

Sweating is a good for you because it helps the body remove foreign bodies and toxins. Did you know that 4% of urine is fat?  Black pepper helps the body remove excess water through urination that removes urea, fat, excess water, and uric acid.

→ Black Pepper is part of our Fat Burner Food List

4. Support weight loss efforts

Since black pepper enhances digestion, it can go a long way in helping your body function better including supporting weight loss efforts. The breakdown of fat cells can be supported by the outer layer of the peppercorn, making it easier to be processed by the body, so black pepper can help you lose weight more easily.

Look for Ayurvedic black pepper tea that will enhance efforts to lose weight.

5. Helps get rid of gas

While this doesn’t sound pleasant, when you consume black pepper, you help expel gas out of the body which is a good thing. Gas that stays within the body can put a strain on the vital organs including the upper chest cavity which is why it can make you feel uncomfortable.

6. Provides relief from vitiligo

A skin disease that can cause areas of the skin to turn white by losing its normal pigmentation.  Black pepper contains ‘piperine’ that stimulates the skin to produce melanocytes pigment. This can be a healthier alternative when combined with ultraviolet light therapy instead of using harsh chemical treatments to eliminate and prevent this type of skin condition.

7. Treats coughs and colds

Common in Ayurvedic medicine, pepper is used to provide relief from nasal congestion and sinusitis by breaking up phlegm and mucus in the respiratory tract so it can be eliminated easier for a faster recovery. Enjoy a bowl of chicken noodle soup seasoned with black pepper to help treat your cough or cold.

8. Fights infection

Black pepper is often used in Ayurvedic medicine to fight infections including insect bites.  Pepper acts very similar to fiber in that it helps get rid of excess cholesterol from the arterial wall, reducing the risk of developing atherosclerosis, a condition linked to stroke and heart attacks.

In the same way, pepper is active against bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus sphaerius, and Bacillus subtilis.

9. Supports absorption of nutrients

Adding black pepper to your food helps the body absorb the nutrients from the food that you eat, making the nutrients more accessible to your system, ensuring maximum absorption by transporting vitamins, minerals, and other compounds to different areas of the body.

10. Speeds up absorption of drugs

If you have to take medication for a health condition, black pepper can speed up the absorption of that medication from the time it takes to travel through the gastrointestinal tract, preventing the drug from being oxidized or metabolized when it first passes through the liver.  As a result, it may speed up your recovery any ailment.

11. Supports brain function

Black pepper stimulates the chemical pathways in the brain helping to improve memory and cognitive function.  For example, preliminary studies have shown that pepper is powerful in helping to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and improve memory by healing nerve damage in the hippocampus.

It does this by preventing free radicals (toxins, chemicals, and pollutants) from damaging the healthy cells in the brain. 

12. Acts as an anti-depressant

In addition to acting as an anti-depressant, black pepper helps you think more clearly and improves cognitive ability.  It is due to the effect on the regulation of serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter that affects mood, as well as dopamine that supports brain function.

13. Anti-inflammatory

By reducing and stopping the death of cells, black pepper serves as a powerful anti-inflammatory, something that plays a huge role in preventing and treating Parkinson’s disease that affects physical movement in the body.

14. Helps you quit smoking

Black pepper essential oil is used in devices such as electric cigarettes that create a sensation in the respiratory tract of regular smoke, thus satisfying and reducing cravings for cigarettes, making it easier to quit smoking altogether.

In certain situations, black pepper can be a good treatment for respiratory conditions, such as asthma, due to its strong anti-inflammatory properties.

15. Helps improve overall health

In addition to adding taste and flavor to any meal, black pepper is effective in treating many health conditions from tooth decay and toothaches to earaches and hernias. In fact, vision problems were treated with black pepper in ancient times.

As you can see, black pepper is good for you in more ways than one.  You may want to invest in a good quality pepper grinder in order to use whole peppercorns that can stay fresh indefinitely.  Black pepper is available all year round in any grocery store or food market. 

Look for peppercorns that are heavy, round, and compact, and store them at room temperature in an air-tight container.  If you have crushed pepper at home now, store it in the refrigerator to help it stay fresh longer. 

black pepper close view

Is black pepper good for you? 

The health benefits of black pepper justify its use since the Roman times. With the main component being piperine, black pepper aids in reducing the risk of chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases and atherosclerosis. It also increases the amounts of nutrients that are absorbed into your blood.

The digestion of black pepper helps release more hydrochloric acid into your stomach. This enables better digestion and reducing the buildup of gases in your gut. Moreover, due to its low but present sodium content, it acts as a substitute for salt in your diet, meaning that you can flavor your food without fear of salt sauntering into the picture.

Black pepper also contains vitamins such as vitamin C, K, E, A, B1, B2, B5, as well as minerals such as potassium, calcium, manganese and tiny levels of sodium.

Word of warning

If you have had any type of abdominal surgery recently, you should avoid using excess black pepper in your meals because it can irritate your stomach and intestines.

Besides, pepper can make you sneeze without warning, something you want to avoid right after surgery.  If you notice any allergic reactions, stop using black pepper and consult your physician.

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Origins of black pepper

Used for centuries as a spice and remedy for a variety of health conditions, the fruit of the black pepper plant comes from the Piperaceae family. The spiciness of black pepper comes from the chemical piperine and is native from Kerala, in India. However, Vietnam is the largest grower and exporter of black pepper. When the plant is dried, the peppercorn is the result and can be used as an anti-inflammatory or to preserve food.

White pepper Vs black pepper

Both white and black peppercorns are the fruit of the pepper plant, however :

  • black ones are sun-dried and picked when almost ripe which turns the outer layer black. 
  • White peppercorns are produced by removing the outer layer before and after drying which leaves the inner seed. 

Surprisingly, white pepper is hotter than black, however good white pepper must be fresh, otherwise it can taste bitter and stale.

Many people prefer to use white pepper in white foods such as mashed potatoes or white sauces that is common in French cooking, but it is also used in Chinese, Vietnamese, Swedish and American cooking.

Black pepper nutritional facts

1 tablespoon of ground black pepper contains:

  • 17 calories
  • 2 calories from fat
  • 1 gram of protein
  • 4 grams carbohydrates
  • 2 grams fiber
  • 1% Vitamin A
  • 2% Calcium
  • 4% Iron

Black pepper uses

Any dish can be spiked with more flavor using freshly ground black pepper. From soups and salads to main dishes, but it is best to add black pepper at the end of the cooking process for maximum flavor and health benefits.  Invest in a good-quality pepper grinder to keep on your table adding fresh-ground pepper to your meal.

Black pepper essential oil

Derived from black pepper, the essential oil was considered a sacred commodity in ancient times and more valuable than gold. Rich in vitamins and minerals, black pepper essential oil promotes secretion of digestive juices to support and improve digestion. It works well to relieve cramps, spasms, and muscle pulls.

Read the label and always follow label direction on essential oil bottles as they are processed differently. Like black peppercorns, the benefits of black pepper essential oil are endless :

  • Improves digestion
  • Rich in antioxidants and antibacterial properties
  • Cleanses the intestines
  • Promotes urination
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Prevents the growth of cancer cells
  • Effective remedy for rheumatoid arthritis
  • Disinfects the body
  • Treats bacterial infections
  • Supports the immune system
  • Promotes healthy circulation
  • Calms anxious feelings
black pepper and powder

The tip from nutritionist Sherry L. Granader:

Have you ever woken up after a peaceful afternoon nap and felt more tired than you felt before your nap ? 

Keep black pepper essential oil on hand so you can apply a few drops of it on the bottom of your feet.  You will be surprised how quickly it will wake you up and give you a boost to take on the rest of the day. You can also apply a few drops of the essential oil on the bottom of your feet before heading out in cold weather for a walk.  It will keep your feet warm by supporting healthy circulation.

Experiment with black pepper essential oil in your kitchen.  It will provide a burst of flavor to the simplest of meals that you won’t soon forget. Add a drop of essential oil to your favorite steak marinade and family and friends will want to know your secret to making grilled steak so delicious.

The bottom line is black pepper contains all sorts of natural chemicals that can protect and support the human body.  When black pepper is ingested, the antioxidants can play a critical role in supporting healthy fat cells.

You can make the most of black pepper essential oil by adding a few drops to your favorite food or apply it directly on the skin for pain-relief for a warming effect.  Of course, before going ahead with any natural treatment option, check with your doctor first, especially if you have any respiratory issue.

Black pepper essential oil is chock full of bone health, vitamins and minerals that can be very helpful to the body from helping to control high blood pressure to enhanced brain function.  Another word of caution is to keep black pepper oil away from your eyes and nose as it can cause burning of the eyes, irritation, or sneezing. 

Black pepper oil is rather potent and can be combined with a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil for an effective blend that works well as a natural remedy for a variety of conditions.  Living a healthy lifestyle is all about finding what works for your best health. 

Add a few drops of the essential oil to the food you eat for flavor and to boost digestion. Whether you add fresh ground pepper to your food or make the effort to try black pepper essential oil, adding black pepper to your daily routine will go a long way in improving your health.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does ground black pepper have sodium?

Every teaspoon of black pepper (2.3 g) has 0.46 g of Sodium. But sodium is less present in black pepper as compared to other ingredients such as magnesium and phosphorus.

Can you digest black pepper?

Black pepper is great for digestion. Experts say that raw black pepper releases HCL acid in the stomach which, in turn, helps in digestion. HCL also keeps your intestines clean and resolves gastrointestinal disorders.

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