Yes, Black Pepper is Paleo!
King of Spices
One of the most versatile spices used, black pepper is the fruit of the plant family Piperaceae. It is used both as spice, seasoning and medicine. Black pepper has a pungent smell. Piperine is the chemical compound in black pepper that gives its spicy taste. Native to India and available all year round, black pepper is the most traded spice in the world.
Black pepper is available in dried form, called peppercorn, ground and powder form to add flavor and spice to dishes. Known as King of Spices, black pepper can be added to almost any dish. It can be used as seasoning to sauces, curries, meats, vegetables, fishes. Not only that it adds spice to food, it can also add a good taste when paired with salt.
On top of its culinary benefits, black pepper is also used as medicine. In Ayurveda, its extract is used as massage oil, beauty and herbal treatments.
Black pepper is an excellent source of manganese, dietary fiber, potassium, vitamins C and K. It is also a good source of copper, iron, calcium and zinc. It has a number of antioxidants and phytochemicals that can improve overall health.
Piperine is an essential oil present in black pepper that gives its bold taste and heat. Black pepper also contains monoterpenes sabinene, pinene, terpenene, limonene, and mercene that give its aromatic properties. All these oils combined can ease muscle pains, arthritis and can treat constipation and indigestion.
Health Benefits of Black Pepper
Freshly ground black pepper is found to be most beneficial. The nutrients together with essential oils found in black pepper can contribute to a healthy wellbeing.
Antioxidants and Anti-Bacterial Properties
Black pepper is considered to be an antioxidant and it can neutralize the damage caused by free radicals, thus protecting the body from conditions such as atherosclerosis, macular degeneration, memory loss and even cancer. It also has antibacterial properties that can fight against infections.
Proper digestion is important to avoid stomach problems like bloating, diarrhea and constipation. The piperine in black pepper has the ability to increase hydrochloric acid secretion in the stomach, therefore stimulating digestion. It also prevents formation of intestinal gas (carminative) and promotes urination and sweating to eliminate excess water and toxins in the body.
Black pepper, when combined with turmeric, can become twice as potent in prevention of cancer. Piperine can inhibit formation of cancer cells. The vitamins A, C, flavanoids and antioxidants found in black pepper eliminate harmful free radicals in the body that can cause cancer.
Spicy and peppery foods can help in losing weight. Black pepper can aid in breaking down fat cells, increasing metabolism. A pinch of pepper can make you sweat which gets rid of excess water and toxins.
Vitiligo is a skin disease that causes the skin to lose its normal pigmentation, creating white patches. Another benefit from piperine is that it can stimulate the skin to produce pigment. It can also reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Antibacterial in nature, pepper can help cure cough and colds. It can also provide relief from nasal congestion and sinusitis. It acts as an expectorant that helps break the mucus and phlegm in the respiratory tract, eliminating it from the body.
Cognition and Brain Function
Piperine is an importance compound that shows positive effects on memory impairment and brain function. Research suggests that pepper can aid in preventing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Black Pepper May Cause Sneezing
Black pepper has numerous health benefits but be cautious when you consume it as it can cause sneezing. Piperine is the compound responsible to this. It acts as an irritant when it gets into the nose, stimulating the nerve endings of the mucus membrane therefore triggering the sneeze reflex.
For people who have undergone abdominal surgery, black pepper should not be taken in high amounts because this can have an irritating effect on the intestines especially.
All you ever wanted to know about Black Pepper and Paleo
Mark’s Daily Apple. Pepper and Salt: Not So Basic After All
Paleo Porn. Is Black Pepper Paleo?
Health Benefits of Black Pepper
World’s Healthiest Foods. Black Pepper
Food Facts. Mercola. What Is Black Pepper Good For?
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photo credit: Piyushgiri Revagar Cut the Mustard (IMG_5093)