Black Pepper is a berry, the fruit of the black pepper plant. The distinctive spicy taste is due to piperine which increases nutrient absorption in foods and supplements. It is available whole (peppercorns), crushed or ground into powder. The best flavor is gained using whole peppercorns and grinding them yourself.
As a much sought-after spice throughout the centuries in both culinary and medical uses, pepper was also used to pay taxes and ransoms. During the Middle Ages the wealth of a man was oftentimes measured by his stockpile of pepper.
The health benefits of black pepper include relief from respiratory disorders, coughs, the common cold, constipation, indigestion, anemia, impotency, muscular strains, dental disease, diarrhea, and heart disease, just to name a few. It is also used to preserve food due to its antibacterial properties; and it is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent. As an antioxidant, it can help prevent/repair damages (cardiovascular diseases) caused by free radicals.
Black Pepper is a rich source of Vitamin K, C, B6, riboflavin, manganese, iron, potassium, calcium, and dietary fiber. A sprinkle of black pepper on your food dishes will definitely be an aid to healthy living. A word of caution: black pepper can cause allergic reactions relating to certain medical procedures and should not be taken in high concentrations.
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