SURPRISING HEALTH BENEFITS OF BLACK PEPPER - Grace Ngo Foundation

Health, Knowledge, Natural Food Matters

Monday, 19 October 2015

SURPRISING HEALTH BENEFITS OF BLACK PEPPER

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1. Rich in important Vitamins and Minerals: Black pepper is commonly referred as “The King of Spices”. It is valued for its flavor, aroma, nutritional and medicinal uses making it an important commodity. By its nature; it is spicy, aromatic and carminative. It is a natural antioxidant. It acts as anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-periodic and anti-pyretic. It is rubefacient in nature. It can help to lower body’s cholesterol levels. It contains mainly vitamins A, C, E, K, niacin and β-carotene; and traces of minerals such as iron, calcium, phosphorous. The amino acids contained in black pepper, works for enhancing the bio availability of nutrients. These acid constituents can be used in anti-microbial, anti-bacterial applications. All these values of black pepper make it a promising natural health promoting medicine as well as nutrient rich commodity. This critical review elaborates all the above mentioned characteristics in detail, with numerical value and statically analysis. Based on the analysis and review of last three decades research on black pepper;

2. Black pepper; is Antipyretic, Rubefacient, Anticancer, Diuretic, Anti-oxidant, Cholesterol lowering, Carminative. From ancient times they have been used to enliven our foods. Spices possess medicinal as well as nutritional based properties. They have been effectively used as a one of the most important constituents in the medical field worldwide. They have beneficial influence on lipid metabolism efficacy as anti-diabetics. They have ability to stimulate digestion and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory (i.e., reduces painful swelling caused by tissue injury) potential. Keeping in mind the potency of spices for medicinal and nutritional uses black pepper was selected and reviewed for its nutritional and medicinal value.
Vitamins content in black pepper: Choline, Folic acid, Niacin, Pyridoxine, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C Vitamins A, Vitamin E, Vitamin K is the major vitamins found in the black pepper. Minerals content of black pepper: Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Zinc are the main minerals found in the black pepper

3. Increases Digestive power: This Pepper is described as a drug which increases digestive power, improves appetite, cures cold, cough, diseases of the throat, intermittent fever, colic, dysentery, worms and piles. It stimulates circulatory system. It possesses a broad spectrum antimicrobial activity. Analgesic (alleviate pain), antipyretic (reduces fever) and anti-inflammatory actions are described, with piperine having been shown to be one of the active compounds in such cases. A protective impact of black pepper on liver enzymes has been noted as evaluated based on the Ames test, mutagenic and carcinogenic properties of pepper gave favorable results. The antioxidant capacity of pepper phenolic amides was shown to be superior to the synthetic moieties BHT (Butylated hydroxytoluene, antioxidant synthetic food additive) and BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole, synthetic antioxidant consisting of a mixture of two isomeric organic compounds).


4.Bioavailability enhancement: Black pepper and its volatile oil are used in food and food items to aid, Digestion, Relieve gas, Treat food poisoning, Stomach chills, Cholera, Dysentery. Piperine increases the bioavailability of valuable phyto-chemicals present in food items and can boost the activity of biochemically active compounds contained in it. It promotes the rapid absorption of certain chemicals from the gastrointestinal tract, protecting them from being broken down by chemicals in the intestinal lumen and by enzymes that occur in the cells lining of intestines. Once the compound has entered the blood stream, piperine provides protection against oxidative damage with the help of liver enzymes. In this way black pepper enables us to reap optimum benefits from the medicinal phyto-chemicals found in other dietary spices. Black pepper’s bioavailability enhancing properties makes it as one of the most important spices. It should be added to recipes and meals as often as possible because it boosts the medicinal value of many spices and other foods. Piperine extracted from pepper is a bioavailability enhancer that allows substances to remain in cells for longer periods of time. The researchers concluded that piperine enhances the serum concentration, extent of absorption and bioavailability of curcumin in both rats and humans with no adverse effects. This means that a low dose of curcumin could have a greater effect in terms of health benefits when combined with piperine than a large dose of curcumin or turmeric would. Black pepper is pungent, aromatic and warming in nature. Its pungent nature is due to the presence of alkaloid piperine.

5.Stimulating and carminative: It has a high degree of the stimulating and carminative properties, causing a reflex flow of saliva, with increased secretion of gastric juice and improved appetite. Gastro-intestinal movements are augmented, with consequent eructation of gas and relief of colic. In sufficient doses, the peppers dilate the superficial vessels of the skin, causing a feeling of warmth, followed by diaphoresis and some reduction of temperature. On account of these properties they are much employed as condiments, especially in soups and stews

6.Anti-cancer: By increasing the bioavailability of other antitumor spices, black pepper dramatically increases their potency and effectiveness against cancer. Black pepper counteracts cancer development directly. Its principal phytochemical, piperine, inhibits some of the pro-inflammatory cytokines that are produced by tumor cells. In doing so it interferes with the signaling mechanisms between cancer cells, thereby reducing the chances of tumor progression. Collectively, these properties make black pepper one of the most important spices for preventing cancer.

7.Prevents chemical carcinogens: Peppers especially black pepper prevents chemical carcinogenesis by stimulating the xenobiotic biotransformation enzymes. The antioxidant properties of piperine and associated unsaturated amides play a preventive role in carcinogenesis. Dietary intake of natural antioxidants could be an important aspect of the body’s defense mechanism against the degradative changes caused by mutagens This observation shows the anti-carcinogenic potential of pepper. The essential oil constituents of pepper also contribute to its anti-carcinogenic potential preventing DNA damage. However, pepper as such exhibited anti-mutagenic and anticarcinogenic effects. Natural antioxidant content and its activity in black pepper: Antioxidant compounds in food items play important roles as health protecting factors.

8. High in Antioxidants: Black pepper is a centre of attraction as sources of effective antioxidant. It contains several powerful antioxidants and is thus one of the most important spices for preventing and curtailing oxidative stress. In addition to their direct antioxidant properties, several of these compounds work indirectly by enhancing the action of other antioxidants. Saturated fats in food are one of the main causes of oxidative stress and black pepper minimizes it.

The high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides associated with oxidative stress inhibit the efficacy of important antioxidants like glutathione, superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, vitamin C and vitamin E. Black pepper actually maintains and enhances the levels and efficacy of important antioxidant compounds. Oxidation is a leading cause for quality deterioration during processing and storage of muscle foods. The best way to overcome this problem is to use natural antioxidant which is obtained from plant origin because synthetic antioxidant has many side effects. As black pepper has antioxidant property. It may be one of the best natural anti-oxidant to be used to prevent oxidation and off flavor in meat and its products.

9.Acts as an anti-inflammatory drug: Inflammation is complex biological response of vascular tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants and anti-inflammatory means something which reduces the human body inflammation and black pepper is one of such substance. Anti-inflammatory drugs make up about half of analgesics, remedying pain by reducing inflammation as opposed to opioids which affect the central nervous system.

10. Cholesterol lowering:
Peppers doesn’t have cholesterol. It enhances digestion process by helping faster break down of larger fat molecules into easily digestible simple molecules and prevents the accumulation of fat in body.

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