Peppercorns contain an impressive list of plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties. Peppers have been in use since centuries for its anti-inflammatory, carminative, anti-flatulent properties.
Peppercorns are composed of health benefiting essential oils such as piperine, an amine alkaloid, which gives strong spicy pungent character to the pepper. It also contains numerous monoterpenes hydrocarbons such as sabinene, pinene, terpenene, limonene, mercene, etc., which altogether gives aromatic property to the pepper.
The above-mentioned active principles in the pepper may increase the gut motility as well as the digestion power by increasing gastro-intestinal enzyme secretions. It has also been found that piperine can increase absorption of selenium, B-complex vitamins, beta-carotene, as well as other nutrients from the food.
Black peppercorns contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, calcium, zinc, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme,superoxide dismutase. Iron is essential for cellular respiration and blood cell production.
They are also an excellent source of many vital B-complex groups of vitamins such as Pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamin and niacin.
Peppercorns are a good source of many anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-C and vitamin-A. They are also rich in flavonoid polyphenolic anti-oxidants like carotenes, cryptoxanthin, zea-xanthin and lycopene. These compounds help the body remove harmful free radicals and help protect from cancers and diseases.
Peppers have been used therapeutically in dentistry as an antiseptic for tooth-decay and gum swellings.
Peppercorns are also being used as traditional medicines in treating flatulence and indigestion, however, there is little or no data to support these claims in modern medicine.
Consumption of dishes prepared with excessive amounts of black pepper can cause gastrointestinal irritation, and bleeding from the ulcer sites. Therefore, recipes prepared with pepper should be avoided in individuals with stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, and diverticulitis conditions
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