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Black pepper - black gold - what are the benefits of eating it?

Black pepper
Heading to the supermarket today, you'll find the spice section. The shelves hold hundreds of spice blends for everything. Back in the 90's this was not the case and our mothers cooked delicious meals by seasoning them with salt, bay leaf, allspice and pepper.

Basic information about pepper

Pepper grows in countries of tropical Asia, Africa, and South America, and is most commonly found on the coasts. In ancient and medieval times pepper was extremely expensive. Black pepper is made from unripe, fermented fruits, while white pepper is made from ripe ones. Green pepper is the fruit of the same plant that has been preserved in brine or acetic acid.

For me, black pepper is the most important spice that adds not only spiciness (like chilli) but also flavour. It blends well with most foods and other spices. The best option is to buy peppercorns and grind them before consumption.

Piperine was isolated in the 1820s by ├śrsted, who was also the inventor of electromagnetism. It can now be purchased in capsule form, often also containing vitamins, turmeric and coenzyme Q10.

What effect does pepper have on the body?

Better digestion

The effect of pepper is due to its piperine content, which stimulates the secretion of gastric juice. Pepper should be a regular addition to meals for people who have digestive problems. Moreover, pepper improves the absorption of valuable nutrients, such as calcium and selenium. Green tea and turmeric have similar effects. The use of pepper and turmeric at the same time is very beneficial - piperine significantly improves the absorption of curcumin. A similar synergism of action is shown when used together with vitamins C, A, B-6, coenzyme Q-10, beta-carotene and selenium.

Pepper also has an antibacterial effect, so at least to some extent it is able to protect us from food poisoning. Reportedly, in ancient times it was added in large quantities to dishes that were not quite fresh. Let's rather not go that way.

Reduce free radicals

Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells in your body. They are formed both naturally (e.g. during digestion) and artificially, through contact with pollutants, cigarette smoke or strong sunlight.

Black pepper is among the top products with the highest antioxidant activity. The benefits of frequent seasoning with pepper are significant - it protects cells and inhibits aging.

Anti-inflammatory effects of pepper

Chronic inflammation is a symptom accompanying many diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, asthma, allergies or arthritis. Studies conducted on rodents show that pepper inhibits inflammation and provides relief from hay fever and other allergies. 

Supporting brain function

Pepper reduces negative changes occurring in the brain and protects neurons from harmful substances. Similarly to other hot spices, it improves mood. Thanks to stimulating the secretion of serotonin and endorphins, piperine has a positive effect on memory and increases the ability to remember and recall information. It also has a positive effect on concentration and motivation. 

May prevent cancer

Scientists have hypothesized that piperine slows down the propagating of cancer cells. Laboratory studies have confirmed its effectiveness against breast cancer, and that it reduces the resistance of cancer cells to treatment.  Of course, it's a long way from lab research to drug development, but it offers some hope.

Pepper for weight loss

Confirmed information - pepper inhibits the formation of fat cells. Regular use of pepper improves body thermogenesis, thanks to which we burn more calories even when we do not exercise. Pepper is also an ingredient of pre-training preparations, which stimulate the body to greater effort. Piperine also has a positive effect on fat burning and reduces the amount of fat in the bloodsteam.

Cleanse your body

One of the traditional Polish "medicines" is vodka with pepper. Supposedly such a mixture works perfectly for food poisoning and colds. Personally I have never tried it, but pepper really detoxifies the body. Piperine helps remove harmful substances and stimulates metabolism. If by detoxification we also mean fighting bacteria, then piperine is also useful here - it reduces the growth and adhesion of Helicobacter Pylori bacteria, responsible for ulcers.

To summarize - black pepper often seems to us an ordinary, cheap spice. However, when we take a closer look, it turns out that it is one of the most valuable superfood products.