Pepper it up: Boost your digestive health with pepper
- 3 mins read
- Jillian Lai Mei Siew
BLACK PEPPER: KING OF SPICES
Black pepper is known as the “King of Spices” because of its strong aroma. It is widely used in all the major cuisines of the world. Apart from its use as a spice, pepper has loads of health benefits, including improved digestive health.
WHY IS PEPPER HEALTHY?
The humble peppercorn offers antioxidants (vitamin K) as well as several minerals, including manganese and calcium that support general health and well being. Black pepper’s primary constituent is the powerful piperine. Best known for its “heat”, piperine helps improve digestion of food and might even help with weight loss.
Several animal studies talk about the role of black pepper as a preventive agent against heart diseases, diabetes mellitus, inflammatory disease, and cancer insurgence. Here is how pepper benefits different aspects of our health.
PEPPER SUPPORTS DIGESTIVE HEALTH
Black pepper and its active ingredients are commonly employed as traditional remedies against gastric disturbances from time immemorial.
Pepper is a carminative, which means it can reduce intestinal gas. That’s probably due to the fact that the taste of pepper appears to trigger the stomach to release more hydrochloric acid, a substance that’s necessary for breaking down foods, especially protein from meat and other sources.
Pepper can also boost the production of digestive enzymes in the pancreas, which will help food break down more efficiently.
Another important benefit of pepper is its effect on the intestinal microflora. Certain studies suggest that including pepper in your diet can increase the variability of your gut microbiome and promote the growth of good bacteria.
ITS EFFECTS ON ABSORPTION
Piperine improves the functionality of our intestines. It enhances the absorption of nutrients, improves the synthesis of digestive juices and perks up the immune system of our body. It enhances the absorption of calcium, trace elements like selenium and Vitamin B.
Oxidation is an inevitable process observed in body cells that can produce reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS are the causative agent responsible for various ailments, that is, cancer, inflammation, atherosclerosis, and ageing. Excessive production of ROS outplays the defence capabilities of the body resulting in oxidative stress. Antioxidants help maintain the balance between the normal and stressed conditions in the cells. It is indicated that black pepper is a potential dietary source of natural antioxidants.
The process of inflammation can lead to the development of various ailments that include arthritis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and even cancer. Piperine present in pepper inhibits the substances in our body that cause inflammation.
TREATS SKIN PROBLEMS
The ‘King of Spices’ is said to prevent skin pigmentation (Vitiligo). This condition makes your skin appear white and this is also called white patches. Though there are many medicines available in the market to restore your skin colour, black pepper protects your skin. So, for both taste and wellness, remember to add a little sprinkle of the wonderful spice to your meal. Make sure you only use the purest and most natural black pepper powder because it will not only make a tremendous difference to the food taste but also to your health.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23768180/ – Black pepper and health claims: a comprehensive treatise
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21434835/ – The effects of black pepper on the intestinal absorption and hepatic metabolism of drugs