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Food 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 traders.

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 black peppercorns.

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



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