Black pepper is perhaps the most popular spice in the world, and black, green and white peppercorns all come from the black pepper plant (Piper nigrum), native to Asia. Black pepper is the whole, partially ripened fruit; green is the unripe fruit; and white pepper is derived from the peeled seed. Some reasons to eat black pepper?
- It is a proven antibacterial agent.
- It contains compounds that help maintain the integrity of DNA, possibly providing some protection against cancer.
- It has been known to help calm digestive issues - it helps signal the stomach to produce more hydrochloric acid, which aids in protein digestion. This, in turn, can help address heartburn, indigestion, gas, diarrhea and constipation.
- It can promote detoxification via sweating and increased urination, while the outer layer of peppercorns facilitates the breakdown of fat cells.
It also provides manganese, iron and vitamin K, and is a good source of dietary fiber.
Keep in mind that black pepper can irritate the GI tract, urinary tract, and prostate, and shouldn't be consumed frequently in quantity.
For the best flavor, choose whole peppercorns that you can mill before adding to dishes, and add pepper just before removing the dish from heat to ensure best flavor.