Forget the salt, but embrace the pepper!

“How to Harness the Healing Power of Black Pepper” By Shubhra Krishan “Black pepper provides much more than a colour contrast to the salt shaker. Those peppercorns pack more than a spicy kick—they deliver a hefty healing punch. Why Black Pepper? Among all the varieties of pepper out there—green, white and pink; black pepper is the most flavourful and pungent. It has also been seen to have the maximum health benefits. Black Pepper—The Wonder Healer While ‘spicy’, black pepper is an excellent inflammatory agent. That’s why, including it in your daily diet can bring relief from arthritis. Research studies have proved that the spice also reduces your perception of pain. In a significant research study, scientists found that black pepper has the highest concentration of antioxidants among a wide range of foods such as cereals, legumes, other spices, roots and tubers. And antioxidants, as we know, are powerful disease-fighters. Another study conclusively proves that black pepper inhibits the growth of colon cancer cells. The healing properties of another wonder spice, turmeric, are increased 20-fold when it is combined with black pepper, studies show. Recent studies show that the piperine in black pepper inhibits the growth of fat cells. If you suffer from aggravations of the Kapha dosha (clogged sinuses, bloating, lethargy), you must include black pepper in your diet—it makes nutrients more ‘available’ to your microcirculatory channels. It also promotes sweating, urination and digestion, helping you flush out toxins and ‘clean’ your system naturally. Tasty Ways with Black Pepper Olive oil, lemon juice, salt and cracked pepper make a delicious salad dressing. Cheese, herbs and a sprinkling of black pepper make a divine topping for pizza—and gifting you healing goodness. To me, no risotto is complete without freshly crushed black pepper. I often crush some black pepper over dough and integrate the spice into the base, adding taste plus strength to the pizza or chapatis I am cooking. A stir-fry, Chinese style, acquires magical flavour when you add cracked black pepper to garlic before adding in the vegetables. Black pepper combines beautifully with coconut milk to make a delicate curry with a peppery kick. It gives fruit salads and some desserts a wonderful spicy twist. Try it! If you have an irritated throat, pound some black pepper and mix it with a little freshly grated ginger and a big spoonful of honey. The moment it goes down your gullet, you’ll feel relief. How to Buy and Use the spice To ensure that you get unadulterated and truly flavourful black pepper, buy it whole and store it in a tight-fitting glass jar. Always grind the peppercorns fresh in a mill just before adding to a recipe. This yields the maximum benefits, since ground and stored black pepper loses its nutritional value, including Vitamin C.”

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