Monday, January 11, 2016

Is Black Pepper Good For You?

We look at whether black pepper is a healthy or unhealthy way to flavor food.

Have you ever wondered whether black pepper was good for you while adding it to your meal? Well here are the facts:

The Unhealthy or Risky things about Black Pepper:

  • It can be painful to taste for people who are allergic or sensitive to it.
  • It can alter the way the liver metabolizes substances and therefore can have the wrong interactions with some medications. Consult your doctor about whether black pepper is a problem when consumed with any medication you are taking (especially if you consume it a lot).
  • It can cause discomfort if breathed in. It will also cause discomfort if it comes into contact with the eyes.
  • Excessive amounts of black pepper can irritate the gastrointestinal tract.
  • It can also irritate the prostate and urinary tract in large quantities.
  • Eating it in very high quantities or without food can cause it to enter into the lungs. This can provide serious health issues if it happens in excess.
  • Inhaling black pepper and cause asthma as well.
  • When consumed in larger quantities it can dry the skin.

The Healthy or Positive things about Black Pepper

  • Black pepper aids digestion as your stomach produces more acid when it is ingested, breaking down the rest of your food more easily. This also means that the food you eat with it will also be better absorbed.
  • It slightly increases the body's core body temperature. It therefore increases metabolism and energy turnover. This means that you will have a little more energy as your body burns more calories, leading to fat loss.
  • Black pepper helps with flatulence. This is because the food it is ingested with is broken down and absorbed better so there is less food in the gut for bacteria to feed on and produce gas.
  • It contains manganese, iron, potassium, and vitamin K and A.
To find out more about the health benefits of manganese, iron and potassium click here.
  • It helps the liver detoxify the body.
  • It is antimicrobial, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
  • Black pepper can be used to help a congested nose and lungs. It is also used to treat coughs because it encourages the body to produce liquids like saliva and mucus. It can also loosen phlegm. 
  • It is said that black pepper aids in cancer prevention, but more research is needed. Other research shows that it could be carcinogenic (cancer causing) as well. 
  • It improves taste and increases appetite, which is why it is sometimes used to help people who struggle to eat.

Some Interesting Facts about Black Pepper:

  • It loses its flavor when exposed to light and air. Just like the flavor, the health benefits decrease when exposed to light and air as well. The best thing to do (health and flavor wise) is to keep whole peppercorns and grind them directly onto your food.
  • A teaspoon of black pepper contains around 6 calories.
  • Black, green and white peppers come from the same plant. This plant is native to Asia.
  • It is now grown extensively in India and Brazil as well
  • Green peppers corn are picked sooner, white pepper corns have the black skin removed and black pepper corns are dried out with their skins on.
  • Red pepper comes from a different plant, however.

Should you use Black Pepper?

The answer is yes. It helps to increase metabolism and has other health benefits. The key is moderation. Overdosing on anything could turn into a bad thing and black pepper is no different. If you eat a lot of black pepper and are using medication or have breathing problems, consult with your doctor first for the best solution to your unique situation. Stay Strong!

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