Do you mindlessly sprinkle pepper over your food? Sara Shah spoke to a few experts to find out how it may benefit your health
Did you know that pepper was once known as black gold? A small bag could be exchanged for a variety of goods when the barter system was in practice. Something that held so much value back then, is now found on practically every dinner table at homes, restaurants and kitchens across the world. And, a sprinkling of crushed black pepper can add flavour to almost any meal. But, does it have any health benefits? We spoke to nutritionists Pallavi Srivastava and Naini Setalvad to find out.
The goodness of black pepper
Pallavi suggests that even when it’s eaten in small quantities, black pepper packs quite a healthy punch. She explains, “When black pepper is eaten in balanced amount, it has several health benefits. It’s rich in calcium, iron, manganese, vitamin K and fibre. For years it has been known to improve digestion, as it improves the secretion of hydrochloric acid in your stomach. So, any food eaten along with pepper is digested in a more effective manner.” She also suggests incorporating pepper powder in cough and cold remedies as well as detoxification techniques. “The piperine present in black pepper has been proven to reduce inflammation and acts as a pain reliever,” she explains.
Black pepper and weight loss
Talking about the nexus between black pepper and weight loss, Naini says, “Black pepper contains properties that improve digestion, prevent flatulence, reduce indigestion and help combat constipation, all of which aid in weight loss. Pepper also helps you digest food faster, as it boosts the production of hydrochloric acid in your stomach, which prevents indigestion, constipation and acidity.”
How much of it should you eat every day?
Too much of anything — even if it is healthy — can be bad for your body, which is why Pallavi suggests you avoid including excessive amounts of pepper in your diet. “Pepper should not be consumed in excess when you’re on a particular medication as it may react badly with the drugs. Avoid eating more than a teaspoon a day or consult your nutritionist or doctor to find out about its drug interaction,” she says. Naini agrees, telling us, “Only when eaten in large amounts can pepper be a cause for concern as it is known to cause respiratory irritation in people suffering from asthma.”