Black pepper is the world’s most cooked spice. But what are the benefits of black pepper for your health? What does it contain?
I’m sure you’re spicing up your meals with black pepper. But did you know that this spice actually has many benefits for your skin, body, brain and general health?
Black pepper is indeed considered as a medicinal spice and is very rich in mineral content. It’s been used for centuries, and not only as a spice!
Let’s get into it and start from the very beginning: the surprising origin of black pepper!
From an Offering to the Gods to a Spice
Black Pepper originates from where most of the spices come from: India! This black spice always had been a major role in the past: it was of course used to spice meals, but also an offering for the gods, and used for taxes or currency.
Indeed, during the fall of Rome, black pepper was used as an exchange currency to pay barbarians tribes. In the Middle Ages, the wealth of a man was measured by the black pepper stock!
As black pepper went missing, explorators began to look for it. They took the seas to find some more, that’s actually how they discovered many continents! The black pepper trade contributed to the fortune of big european and arab cities. Nowadays, the main producers of black pepper are Indonesia and India.
Focus on the Black Pepper Plant
The black pepper plant only grows in tropicals, really hot and humid climates. It exists hundreds of varieties of this plant. The stems, which can be 10 meters high, are supported by a stake. The trunk and stems have aerial roots and can fix themselves to another tree.
Its oval leaves have a dark green color. After 3 to 4 years, pretty white flowers surface. On them will grow clusters of small round fruits, that are first green, then red, and finally brown when the fruits are mature.
Green VS Black VS White VS Grey VS Pink : What Are the Differences?
All of these peppers come from the same fruit, it just differs depending on different stages of ripening. However, depending on the pepper type, you’ll have a more or less spicy and flavoured taste. Let’s get in details:
- Green pepper comes from fruits which have been picked when they were still green. Usually, this type of pepper is slightly fruity but not spicy.
- Black pepper, which is the most common type of pepper, comes from fruit which have been picked when they were starting to get red, half ripen. They are dried and becomes wrinkled with a blackish color. Be careful, this one is the most spicy and flavored type!
- White pepper comes from very mature fruits that are completely red. Fruits are soaked in cold salt water for a few days so that the outer black shell is dissolved. It gives way to the grain, which is white. After this process, the grains are dried. White pepper is softer than the black one.
- Grey pepper basically is black pepper which has been washed but still has his enveloppe. This type is pretty unusual and therefore, expensive. Not to be confused with a mix between black and white pepper which is sometimes sold as “grey” one, even if it’s not.
- Pink or red pepper comes from another epices which grows in South America. As the others, the fruits are dried to create pepper. It has a delicate, flavored and slightly spicy taste.
Black Pepper Nutrition Facts
Just for you to compare, you’ll find below a comparison of the nutrients contained in black and white pepper.
|Ground Black Pepper||Ground White Pepper|
Quantity: 5 mL (2g)
That’s not all! Black pepper is a very nutritious spice, which:
- Is a good resource of vitamin A and vitamin B6
- Is loaded with sodium
Top Health Benefits of Black Pepper
- Improves cognitive health and brain functions thanks to piperine components
- Stimulates your weight loss and management as the outer layer of peppercorns contains phytonutrients that encourage the breakdown of fat cells
- Improves digestion by increasing the secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which in turn aids proper digestion
- Helps your skin to be pigmented thanks to the piperine it contains
- Has good antibacterial properties by helping to fight against infections and insect bites
Tips to Buy, Store, and Cook Black Pepper
When you buy black pepper, you can choose between ground, coarse or whole peppercorns and flavoured or not. In order to get the maximum of the taste and benefits of black pepper, prefer whole peppercorns and grind it just before adding it to your meal. Choose grains that seem heavy, compact and with a black uniform color. Be careful if you buy ground black pepper as it may contains some impurities, be musty or mixed up with other cheaper spices.
It’s pretty easy to store black pepper. Whole peppercorns are good for a lifetime at room temperature and count 3 months for ground black pepper.
Black pepper is the most used spice in the world! You can basically add it to every salty meals, sauces, vegetables and meats, either cold or hot. Some will even use it in desserts too. You can use the whole peppercorns to flavour sauces, cheese and soups. It’s important to note that you should not cook black pepper for more than 2 hours as it will loose all of its taste. Add it at the end of the cooking so that you’re sure it will spice it at its best!