Black pepper is the world’s most traded spice and is one of the most common spices added to cuisines around the world. Ground dried and cooked peppercorns have been used since antiquity, both for flavor and as traditional medicine. It is cultivated in India, Sri Lanka and elsewhere in tropical regions. It is rich in a plant compound called piperine.
Black pepper contains a generous quantity of vitamin A and is rich n vitamins C and K. Other vitamins and minerals in black pepper include:
Several recent studies have shown that piperine actually increases the bioavailability—and consequent effectiveness—of certain other substances, including curcumin. Curcumin, which is found in turmeric, may reduce the severity of several major diseases in humans, including pancreatic cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and psoriasis. If piperine can help the body absorb curcumin, the combination could lead to new medical treatments.
Piperine has potent antioxidant properties. Studies suggest that a diet rich in antioxidants may help prevent or delay inflammation, premature aging, certain cancers, and heart disease. Antioxidants may protect your cells against free radicals. Free radicals are molecules produced when you are exposed to tobacco smoke or radiation.
Many laboratory studies suggest that piperine — the main active compound in black pepper — may effectively fight inflammation. Chronic inflammation may be an underlying factor in many conditions, such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Additionally, black pepper and piperine are believed to boost the absorption of dietary supplements that have potential cholesterol-lowering effects like turmeric. High blood cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death worldwide.
Studies suggest that piperine may help improve blood sugar metabolism.
Piperine has shown promising effects in laboratory studies for reversing multidrug resistance in cancer cells — an issue that interferes with the efficacy of chemotherapy treatment.