Black Pepper

By: Christian Dischler

It’s in every pantry.  It’s on every fried egg.  It occupies every dinner table.  And yet, it’s one of the most under-appreciated super foods around.  How has black pepper gone from the king of spices, to the king of things we take for granted?  Well, it’s easy to lose sight of something beneficial when it’s always available.  Similar to how we can overlook the value of clean oxygen, black pepper’s abundance and versatility has made it as invisible as the air we breathe.  Luckily, this ancient commodity isn’t emotional about being overlooked in the age of holistic health.  But it’s still important that we explore the benefits it provides, and understand how to best utilize them.  

Black pepper’s main active component is “piperine”, a bio-active alkaloid found in most pepper species.  Piperine is what’s responsible for the benefits black pepper contains.  Such as being high in antioxidants and having anti-inflammatory and digestive aid properties.  In addition, piperine has been linked with the reduction of cancer-causing cells.  So how does piperine work, and what’s the best way to take advantage of it?  

Our bodies are constantly defending against free-radicals, which damage our cells, protein and DNA.  Piperine has been linked to being a free-radical fighter.  According to studies referenced in the National Institute of Health, subjects who were given ground black pepper and piperine supplements experienced a significant decrease in free-radicals.  The compound seeks out these damaging molecules and eliminates them, offering us reductions in inflammation and even preventing potential tumor growth.  This powerful peppercorn also contributes in aiding respiratory problems, such as asthma, by reducing the swelling of airways.  

Since black pepper is naturally high in antioxidants, it serves a prominent role in the fight against cancer and chronic inflammation.  But while it attacks the bad cells in our bodies, it also helps support the good.  Black pepper encourages hydrochloric acid production, which helps us digest food efficiently, and maximize nutritional value.  It’s also been found to be a conductor for other nutrients that our bodies absorb.  The most popular has been the discovery connecting the benefits of turmeric to the activation properties of black pepper.  The two spices are a perfect marriage, and just one example of how piperine helps facilitate nutrient absorption throughout the body.  

Black pepper’s versatility isn’t limited to the number of foods it can improve.  The benefits it provides are helpful across the entirety of our chemistry and bodily make-up.  It’s an unassuming super food that often gets overlooked.  Which is okay as long as we keep sprinkling some on our eggs, and a little bit on everything else that needs a pungent kick.   

Since black pepper is naturally high in antioxidants, it serves a prominent role in the fight against cancer and chronic inflammation.

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