Black Pepper — Benefits and Possible Risks
Is black pepper good for you? In truth, there is no simple answer to this question. There have not been enough studies on black pepper to verify if it is overall healthful and beneficial, detrimental, or neither. There are, however, plenty of suggestions as to the benefits (and negatives) associated with black pepper. Here are a few of them:
Possible Benefits of Black Pepper:
· Alleviates hemorrhoids
· Alleviates gas
· Alleviates constipation
· Improves digestion – just think, by grinding or shaking black pepper onto your meal, you may actually be aiding yourself in the digestion of that meal. How? Black pepper stimulates the taste buds, alerting your stomach to increase its hydrochloric acid secretion which aids in digestion.
· Alleviates loss of appetite – again, black pepper wakes up and stimulates your taste buds.
· Promotes sweating
· Promotes urination
· Anti-bacterial effect
· Anti-oxidant effect
· Stimulates the breakdown of fat cells
· Inhaling vapor from black pepper extract may reduce withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking – this theory is still being tested…
· Piperine – an alkaloid found in black pepper – could enhance the bioavailability of some nutritional substances and drugs. It also may have anti-carcinogenic properties and anticonvulsant
Possible Negative Effects of Black Pepper
· According to at least one study, black pepper may cause an increase in parietal secretion (of hydrochloric acid – the acid abovementioned as an aid to digestion) and pepsin secretion and a loss in potassium.
· Also, there is a chance of mucosal mircrobleeding and even gastric bleeding due black pepper (due, at least in part, to the above-stated secretions).
· Piperine may actually be carcinogenic (although some studies show that it is anti-carcinogenic…) and it might even have negative effects on sperm and interfere with reproductive processes.
All in all, it seems that more likely than not, black pepper has positive health benefits. But before you start loading black pepper onto every single meal, realize that there are possible negatives, as well (which can practically be said about most any food!)