We are all too familiar with pepper. Go into any restaurant, andyou’re sure to find one bottle gracing the table. Open your kitchencabinet and the chances are you’ll find one too. Given our familiaritywith pepper, is the once sought after spice taken for granted in ournutritional search for next superfood? Turns out that this oftenoverlooked spice can deliver more than panache to your food.
Know Your Pepper
If you’re wondering what’s the difference between black, white orgreen pepper, here’s the scoop. The all come from a vine called Pipernigrum. Black peppers are picked early and allowed to dry in the sun.White pepper is allowed to mature on the vine, producing a milderflavor. Green peppers are picked green and often canned.
These little round globes of spice hold a variety of nutrients. Theyare 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 MichiganCancer Society study suggests that pepperine may be able to preventbreast cancer tumor from developing. The power of pepperine is enhancedwhen paired with turmeric. This may explain why pepper is often usedwith turmeric in traditional Indian cooking and they’re both honorarymembers 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 toclear your nasal passages. According to Neil Schachter, MD, a professorat the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, pepper “containschemicals that irritate your mucus membranes to produce thinner, morewatery 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 hitstimulates circulation and helps to deliver oxygen and nutrients to thesurface 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. Accordingto Karyn-Siegel-Maier, author of “The Naturally Clean Home,” a teaspoonof 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 toworry about extra cleaning.