11 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Black Pepper

Black pepper is one of the most commonly used spices worldwide. It’s made by grinding peppercorns, which are dried berries from the vine Piper nigrumIt has a sharp and mildly spicy flavor that goes well with many dishes.

But black pepper is more than just a kitchen staple. It has been deemed the “king of spices” and used in ancient Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years due to its high concentration of potent, beneficial plant compounds.

Here are 11 science-backed health benefits of black pepper.

1. High in antioxidants

Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage your cells. Some free radicals are created naturally — such as when you exercise and digest food. However, excessive free radicals can be formed with exposure to things like pollution, cigarette smoke, and sun rays.

Excess free radical damage may lead to major health problems. For example, it has been linked to inflammation, premature aging, heart disease, and certain cancers. Black pepper is rich in a plant compound called piperine, which test-tube studies have found to have potent antioxidant properties.

Studies suggest that a diet high in antioxidants may help prevent or delay the damaging effects of free radicals. Test-tube and rodent studies have observed that ground black pepper and piperine supplements may reduce free radical damage. For instance, rats fed a high-fat diet plus either black pepper or a concentrated black pepper extract had significantly fewer markers of free radical damage in their cells after 10 weeks compared to rats fed a high-fat diet alone (9Trusted Source).

2. Has anti-inflammatory properties

Chronic inflammation may be an underlying factor in many conditions, such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Many laboratory studies suggest that piperine — the main active compound in black pepper — may effectively fight inflammation.

For example, in studies in rats with arthritis, treatment with piperine resulted in less joint swelling and fewer blood markers of inflammation. In mouse studies, piperine suppressed inflammation in the airways caused by asthma and seasonal allergies.

However, the anti-inflammatory effects of black pepper and piperine have not yet been studied extensively in people.

3. May benefit your brain

Piperine has been shown to improve brain function in animal studies. In particular, it has demonstrated potential benefits for symptoms related to degenerative brain conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. For example, a study in rats with Alzheimer’s disease found that piperine improved memory, as the distribution of piperine enabled the rats to repeatedly run a maze more efficiently than rats not given the compound.

In another rodent study, piperine extract seemed to decrease the formation of amyloid plaques, which are dense clumps of damaging protein fragments in the brain that have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.Yet, studies in humans are needed to confirm whether these effects are also seen outside animal studies.

4. May improve blood sugar control

Studies suggest that piperine may help improve blood sugar metabolism. In one study, rats fed a black pepper extract had a smaller spike in blood sugar levels after consuming glucose compared to rats in the control group.

Additionally, 86 overweight people taking a supplement containing piperine and other compounds for 8 weeks experienced significant improvements in insulin sensitivity — a measure of how well the hormone insulin removes glucose from the bloodstream.

However, it’s unclear whether the same effects would occur with black pepper alone, as a combination of many active plant compounds was used in this study.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/black-pepper-benefits#4.-May-improve-blood-sugar-control-

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