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for Life - Caribbean - Black Pepper
Regarded as the “king of spices,”
black pepper is an incredibly popular among spices since
ancient times. Peppercorn is native to the tropical evergreen
rain forest of South Indian Kerala state, from where it
spread to the rest of the world through Indian and Arab
Commercial peppercorns available in the markets may come in different
colors. However, they are nothing but the same pepper fruit that
picked up from the same pepper plant at different stages of maturity
and subjected to various methods of processing.
Black peppercorns- Here, the pepper berries are
harvested while half-mature and just about to turn red. They are
then left to dry under the sunlight until dry, shrivel, and turn
Green peppercorns- The berries are picked while
they are still unripe, and green.
Health benefits of black pepper
Peppercorns contain an impressive list of plant-derived chemical
compounds that are known to have disease-preventing and health-promoting
properties. Black peppers have been in use for centuries for their
anti-inflammatory, carminative, anti-flatulent properties.
Peppercorns composed of health benefiting essential oils such as
piperine, an amine alkaloid, which gives a strong spicy pungent
character. They also carry numerous monoterpenes hydrocarbons such
as sabinene, pinene, terpinene, limonene, myrcene,, etc., which
altogether gives aromatic property to the pepper.
The above-mentioned active principles in the peppercorns may increase
gut motility as well as digestion power through augmenting gastro-intestinal
enzyme secretions. It has also been found that piperine can increase
the 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, zeaxanthin, and lycopene.
These compounds help the body remove harmful free radicals and help
protect from cancers and diseases.
Information sourced from www.nutrition-and-you.com