Black pepper is the fruit of the black pepper plant from the Piperaceae family and is used as both, a spice and medicine.The chemical piperine, present in black pepper, causes the spiciness. It is native to Kerala, the southern state of India. Since ancient times, black pepper is one of the most widely-traded spices in the world. It is not a seasonal plant and is, therefore, available throughout the year. When dried, this plant-derived spice is referred to as a peppercorn. Because of its antibacterial properties, pepper is used to preserve food. Black pepper is also a very good anti-inflammatory agent.
Black Pepper Nutrition Facts
Black pepper is a rich source of minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, and vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6. This is according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. Other nutrients include vitamin E, folate, and vitamin K. It has a high content of dietary fiber and has a moderate amount of carbohydrate and protein.
Antioxidants in pepper can prevent or repair the damage caused by the free radicals and thus help prevent cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and liver problems.Free radicals are the by-products of cellular metabolism that attack healthy cells and cause their DNA to mutate into cancerous cells. Antioxidants neutralize these harmful compounds and protect your system from many conditions and even symptoms of premature aging like wrinkles, age spots, macular degeneration, and memory loss.
Consumption of pepper increases the hydrochloric acid secretion in the stomach, thereby facilitating digestion. Proper digestion is essential to avoid diarrhea, constipation, and colic. Pepper also helps prevent the formation of intestinal gas, and when added to a person’s diet, it can promote sweating and urination. Sweating removes toxins and cleans out the pores of the foreign bodies that may have lodged there and it can also remove excess water. In terms of urination, you can remove uric acid, urea, excess water, and fat, since 4% of urine is fat. A good digestion helps in weight loss, makes your overall body function better, and prevents severe gastrointestinal conditions. As black pepper is carminative in nature, it easily expels the gas out of the body in a healthy downward motion, as upward moving gas can be dangerous because it can strain the upper chest cavity and other vital organs.
The outer layer of peppercorn assists in the breakdown of fat cells. Therefore, peppery foods are a good way to help you shed weight naturally. When fat cells are broken down into their component parts, they are easily processed by the body and applied to other processes and enzymatic reactions, rather than settling in your body and making you overweight. Ayurvedic tea made with black pepper is one of the teas recommended for weight loss.
Pepper helps to cure vitiligo, which is a skin disease that causes some areas of skin to lose its normal pigmentation and turn white. According to researchers in Oregon Health & Science University, the piperine content of pepper can stimulate the skin to produce melanocytes pigment.  Topical treatment of piperine combined with ultraviolet light therapy is much better than other harsher, more chemical-based treatments for vitiligo. It also reduces the chances of skin cancer due to excessive ultraviolet radiation.
Provides Respiratory Relief
In Ayurvedic practices, pepper is added to tonics for treating cold and cough. Pepper also provides relief from sinusitis and nasal congestion. It has an expectorant property that helps break up the mucus and phlegm depositions in the respiratory tract.  Its natural irritant quality helps you expel these loosened materials through the act of sneezing or coughing, which eliminates the material from the body and helps you recover from infection or illness that caused the deposition in the first place. Soups and stews made with black pepper and other aromatic spices are often used to treat colds and coughs.
The antibacterial property of black pepper helps fight against infections and insect bites.  Pepper added to the diet helps keep your arteries clean by acting in a similar way to fiber and scraping excess cholesterol from the walls, thereby helping reduce atherosclerosis, the condition highly responsible for heart attack and stroke. Research by S. Venkat Reddy et al. published in the Phytomedicine journal showed that the compounds present in black pepper were active against Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus sphaericus, Staphylococcus aureus among gram +ve bacteria, and against among certain gram -ve bacterial strains.
Black pepper helps in transporting the benefits of other herbs to different parts of the body, thus maximizing the efficiency of the other foods we consume. That is why adding it to food not only makes it delicious but also helps to make the nutrients more available and accessible to our system. Improves Cognitive Function
Piperine, one of the key components of black pepper, has been shown in numerous studies to reduce memory impairment and cognitive malfunction. The chemical pathways in the brain appear to be stimulated by this organic compound, so early research demonstrates the possibility of pepper to benefit Alzheimer’s patients and those suffering from dementia and other age-related or free radical-related malfunctions in cognition. Treats Peptic Ulcers
A number of studies have shown that black pepper may have beneficial effects on gastric mucosal damage and peptic ulcers, due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. pepperPrevents Asthma
Pepper is a good treatment for respiratory conditions due to its properties as an expectorant, as well as its strong anti-inflammatory properties. Other Benefits
Preparing grounded pepper powder at home is better than buying it ready-made. However, even home-made powder retains its freshness for only 3 months, while whole peppercorns can keep their freshness indefinitely. Thus, adding a pinch of black pepper to every meal helps to improve both, taste and digestion. It also improves your overall health and well-being.