Black pepper is the most widely used spice in the American cuisine. Its presence alongside the salt is not accidental. It is one of the most useful spices and even helps in weight loss. Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is a plant of the family Piperaceae, whose fruits are used as the widespread spice. The spice is obtained from immature fermented and dried red fruits of the plant and from the ripe, peeled and dried fruit the white pepper is obtained.
Black pepper originates from India. In the past, was known as “the favorite ingredient of the most expensive Roman dishes”.
Pliny the Elder even complained that “there is no year in which India does not drain the Roman Empire of at least fifty million sesterces”. Referring to the cost of Indian spices like black pepper.
In the middle Ages the Arabs traded with pepper on the spice market from the Indian Ocean. In the 15th century, Portugal has been a leader in the trade of pepper and two centuries later the Netherlands began to dominate. Nowadays black pepper occupies one quarter of the world’s spice trade.
Black pepper – Nutritional value
The taste and nutritional quality of pepper is mainly due to the bitter glycoside piperine. It is also rich with essential oil, starch and vitamins E and C. Also contains limonene, linalool, pinene, sabinene and caryophyllene.
Black pepper – Health Benefits
- Strengthens the nervous system; it charges the body with energy and improves stamina.
- Clears the lungs of moisture, regulates the menstrual cycle and acts as a diuretic.
- Helps with kidney stones and treats reproductive system diseases.
- Improves the function of the gastrointestinal tract, it is useful for gastritis, regulates acidity and removes the feeling of heartburn.
- Treats skin diseases such as lichen, psoriasis and others.
Black pepper for Weight loss
Recent scientific studies have shown that piperine, which is found in black pepper, inhibits the formation of new fat cells. According to Wei-Hyun Park of Sejong University, Seoul, South Korea, piperine inhibits the differentiation of fat cells, which makes it suitable for losing weight. Black pepper is used as a supplement in weight loss programs.
Piperine in the black pepper leaves a chain reaction that redirects the specialization of cells, say researchers at The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Moreover, improves the gastrointestinal tract and strengthens the muscles of the digestive organs and helps with digestion problems.
In practice, a recent study completely contradicts the general assumption that it irritates the stomach and stimulates appetite. Turns that it is the opposite – it improves the gastrointestinal tract and results with weight loss. Of course, do not overdo it, because it can have counterproductive effect!