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Health benefits of black pepper
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Health benefits of black pepper

Piperine, a natural substance found in black pepper, not only contributes to its spicy flavour but also its health benefits.

It is winter. The mind craves hot soup and automatically adds to it that certain hot powder.

Yes, it is pepper, the black spicy corn without which many dishes taste incomplete and bland. And our dining tables look so insipid without the shaker full of powdered pepper (along with salt, of course.)

Pepper, which renders a tingling, comforting taste to each sip of the soup, pasta or Indian rasams that we consume, is much more than just a seasoning. On a cold day, it lends a sensation of warmth inside us. This sensation is due to the presence of a natural substance called piperine in black pepper.

It does not stop there. Piperine in black pepper also sprinkles multiple health benefits on us.

Juliana Tamayo, a clinical dietitian from Washington, DC, says, “By adding this spice to our everyday culinary preparations we can reap its benefits.”

Many ways to consume it

Black pepper, which is believed to have originated in South-east Asia, has been a part of Indian cuisines for ages. It is a dominant ingredient in rasam, the common South Indian lentil soup consumed with rice or on its own, and certain rice-lentil preparations such as pongal / khichdi. It is sprinkled on salads and many egg-based dishes.

According to Tamayo, black pepper can be used to spice up any of our meals. It can also get into smoothies and beverages.

Some people who like spicy tea brew their cup with a pinch of black pepper and a few other spices and get cheer from masala chai. Along with turmeric, pepper powder also goes into another hot milk beverage as a home remedy for cold and cough.

Tamayo says that since black pepper is potent and spicy, we might only need a pinch at the most. The amount we take in can vary according to our taste and level of spice tolerance.

Ground pepper loses its flavour and potency faster than whole pepper corn. To preserve them both, powdered pepper is ideally used freshly ground, or stored in an air-tight container kept in a cool, dry place.

A range of goodness

While there is limited evidence on the health benefits of black pepper, emerging studies are actively exploring its potential positive effects.

Tamayo lists the following as health benefits of black pepper.

Black pepper benefits
Illustration by Dr Ananya Krishnan | Canva

You can also learn about:  5 foods that have been villainised 

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