We are all too familiar with pepper. Go into any restaurant, and you’re sure to find one bottle gracing the table. Open your kitchen cabinet and the chances are you’ll find one too. Given our familiarity with pepper, is the once sought after spice taken for granted in our nutritional search for next superfood? Turns out that this often overlooked spice can deliver more than panache to your food.
Know Your Pepper
If you’re wondering what’s the difference between black, white or green pepper, here’s the scoop. The all come from a vine called Piper nigrum. Black peppers are picked early and allowed to dry in the sun. White pepper is allowed to mature on the vine, producing a milder flavor. Green peppers are picked green and often canned.
These little round globes of spice hold a variety of nutrients. They are rich sources of manganese, iron, potassium, iron, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fiber.
Pepperine is a chemical found in pepper and a University of Michigan Cancer Society study suggests that pepperine may be able to prevent breast cancer tumor from developing. The power of pepperine is enhanced when paired with turmeric. This may explain why pepper is often used with turmeric in traditional Indian cooking and they’re both honorary members of curry powder.
- Natural Decongestant
Ever feel better after taking some warm soup seasoned with pepper? Pepper contains anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory chemicals that help to clear your nasal passages. According to Neil Schachter, MD, a professor at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, pepper “contains chemicals that irritate your mucus membranes to produce thinner, more watery mucus to help clear out your nasal passage.”
Due to its antibacterial properties, pepper is often used to preserve food. You may already be utilizing this amazing quality already in your food preparation.
But pepper doesn’t have to be all about food. It turns out that pepper can make a great skin scrub.
Fine grains of pepper not only help to exfoliate skin, its spicy hit stimulates circulation and helps to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the surface of skin. If you’re thinking of a healthier, smoother skin, try a blend used at Bliss Spa:
- ½ cup unscented massage oil
- 6 drops of orange essential oil
- A pinch of ground pepper
- Stir together with a spoon and rub on wet skin while in the bath or shower.
- Wash off and enjoy the lingering spicy scent and more radiant skin.
But that’s not all. Pepper can also act as a laundry aid. According to Karyn-Siegel-Maier, author of “The Naturally Clean Home,” a teaspoon of pepper added to a load of clothes can keep colors vibrant longer. The ground pepper will drain away with the water, so you don’t have to worry about extra cleaning.