The Pepper Grind: Types And Health Benefits Of Peppercorns
Peppercorn is one of the world’s most commonly used spices. You’ve perhaps found yourself staring at the spice shelf in the supermarket, wondering about all those different coloured peppercorns? What’s the difference between black and white? Let’s take a look at the different types available to help you understand them better.
These are under-ripe black peppercorns that typically come in brine or vinegar, tasting fresh and tart. They might also come dried, but it’s more common to see them in brine. Slightly spicy and aromatic, they’re great for flavouring sauces for meat dishes.
The most common variety, black peppercorns, simply known as black pepper, are cooked green peppercorns that have then been left out to dry. They have the strongest, most pungent flavour. Freshly ground, they’re the ideal seasoning—along with salt—for pretty much anything. The health benefits of black pepper are plenty as we will highlight below.
Another popular variety of peppercorns is white pepper. These are black peppercorns with their skin removed. White peppercorns are less pungent and spicy than black peppercorns. This variety of peppercorns is best for light dishes with subtle flavours.
These peppercorns, left to fully ripen on the vine, turn a brilliant shade of red. It’s rare to find red peppercorns as they’re typically dried to develop a black coat, or dried and stripped of their coat to become white peppercorns.
Health Benefits of Pepper
Pepper health benefits are abundant. They pack a lot of nutrients like Calcium, Iron, Manganese, vitamins and minerals. One teaspoon of ground pepper approximately contains 5 calories, 1 g of carbohydrate, and negligible fat and protein. It also contains 8.7 mg calcium, 0.6 mg iron, 0.1 mg manganese, and 3.3 mcg Vitamin K.
Below are some of the main benefits of eating Black Pepper:
Increases curcumin absorption: It enhances the absorption of curcumin, which is the active ingredient in the versatile spice, turmeric. One study found that taking 20 mg of piperine with 2 grams of curcumin improved the availability of curcumin in human blood by 2,000%.
Improves digestion: It helps relieve digestive problems like indigestion, flatulence, constipation and bloating.
May help clear congestion of respiratory tract: Pepper might help clear congestion as it may have an anti-microbial effect.
Combats arthritis: Piperine Nigerum may help combats arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It may help improve circulation and reduce pain & swelling of joints in between the fingers.
Pepper may also help combat diseases such as like high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Apart from the aforementioned benefits, pepper also treats teeth and gum problems, acts as a mood elevator and prevents depression.
For a spice that’s been used in cooking since 2,000 BCE in India and has gone on to become one of the most traded spices in the world, it holds great value in our kitchens, especially due to the health benefits of black pepper. All we say is: keep it cracking!
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