In most homes the salt shaker gets a regular workout. But you know that second shaker on your dinner table that rarely gets touched? Well it turns out good old fashioned black pepper is brimming with health benefits.
In fact, once you find out what it brings to the table you might find yourself refilling the pepper shaker more often than the salt.
1. Improves digestion:
To keep your digestive tract running like a well-oiled machine you need every part of the system to be doing a top notch job, starting with your stomach. Your stomach requires plenty of hydrochloric acid to help break down the food you eat. Without enough on board you can find yourself facing gas, bloating and even constipation. But it turns out black pepper triggers the production of hydrochloric acid. So simply sprinkle some into all your favorite savory dishes for better digestion.
2. Boosts the nutrition in every bite:
Bioavailability is simply how easily your body absorbs nutrients from the foods you eat. Obviously the more you absorb the better, and black pepper can help you do that. It increases the bioavailability of the nutrients in every bite you take. (It will help you better absorb supplements too!) So not only does black pepper make your food taste better, it makes it healthier at the same time.
3. Clears sinuses:
It’s true, smelling pepper can trigger sneezing. But black pepper’s sinus benefits go well beyond a simple sneeze. The fiery spice can help clear congestion and loosen phlegm. Its natural antimicrobial properties can even help clear up your entire respiratory system. To help tackle sinus symptoms try adding some pepper to hot water and inhaling the steam or stir a half a tablespoon into a glass of tepid water and drink it down.
4. Eases arthritis symptoms:
Experts at University of Michigan have found that black pepper is an effective anti-inflammatory, making it a useful tool in your arsenal against arthritis. Piperine, an active ingredient in black pepper, has been shown to inhibit inflammation, triggering interleukin 6 and prostaglandin. And animal studies have shown it can reduce inflammation and arthritis pain.
5. Fights cancer:
Black pepper isn’t just any run of the mill antioxidant, it’s been shown to specifically target cancer cells. A growing number of studies have revealed that black pepper may be able to help put up a fight against colon and breast cancer.
A study conducted at St. Louis University found black pepper significantly inhibits the spread of colon cancer cells. And research at the University of Michigan found that pepper may be able to help prevent breast cancer by limiting the growth of the stem cells that fuel tumors.
6. Protects your heart:
You can thank the polyphenols in black pepper for this one. Experts say these powerful plant compounds can help keep your blood pressure in check, and protect your heart. In an animal study the active ingredient in black pepper, piperine, was shown to significantly lower blood pressure.
7. Boosts brain health:
The piperine in black pepper has been shown to interact with the serotonin in our brains, which may help with mood and overall brain function. Plus the spice is rich in chromium, an essential nutrient your body uses to process the good cholesterol and fatty acids your brain needs to be at its best and stay sharp.
8. Provides overlooked nutrients:
Black pepper is a good source of manganese, vitamin K and iron, nutrients that often fly under the radar, but that are essential for good health.
Are you reaching for the pepper shaker yet? With so many health benefits it’s time to put black pepper at the top of your spice list.
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