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Black Pepper and Its Health Benefits

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4 min read


The compound piperine present in black pepper offers a range of health benefits. Also, black pepper consumption has numerous health benefits.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Partha Sarathi Adhya

Published At December 12, 2023
Reviewed AtDecember 12, 2023


Black pepper is known to be one of the most traditional and the earliest-known spices in human history. Originally, this spice was only native to the Malabar Coast of India. It then began to be imported to various parts of the world. Due to this, it is one of the most important culinary spices used worldwide in global kitchens. The black pepper plant itself is a tall but woody plant possessing yellow-red colored small flowers. These flowers bear the seed that is colloquially referred to by many people as the peppercorn. When the peppercorn is grounded the spice known as black pepper is obtained.

Black pepper spice has a very typical spicy and rich aromatic flavor. It is popular because of it. This spicy tinge is derived from the piperine content present in both its outer fruit as well as plant seed. Because pepper spice can easily lose flavor if it is exposed to the atmosphere or even normal room temperature or external environmental conditions. It is always advisable to store the purchased black pepper in an airtight container, preferably in a cool dry place free from moisture.

What Is the Nutritional Content of Black Paper?

The following nutrition information has been enlisted for approximately 1 tablespoon, or around 0.24 ounces of black pepper by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture):

  1. Magnesium: 0.003 ounces.

  2. Vitamin K: 0.003 ounces.

  3. Calcium: 0.001 ounces.

  4. Iron: 0.00002 ounces.

  5. Potassium: 0.0031 ounces.

  6. Fat: 0.007 ounces.

  7. Sodium: 0.00003 ounces.

  8. Carbohydrates: 0.0001ounces

  9. Fiber: 0.00007 ounces.

  10. Sugars: 0 ounces.

  11. Protein: 0.02 ounces.

  12. Total Calories: 17 kilocalories.

Based on the nutritional information of black pepper, approximately 0.155 ounces of carbohydrates can be found in about one tablespoon. It is worth noting that when cooking with this spice, people typically use less than one tablespoon. As a result, the carbohydrate content in black pepper is almost negligible, making it a beneficial inclusion in diabetic or prediabetic diets since it does not affect blood sugar levels. Furthermore, black pepper contains minimal amounts of fat and is cholesterol-free. Black pepper is not known to be a very significant protein source. Hence it is best if one uses black pepper for flavoring over a proteinaceous dish or pair dishes or meals with a good plant or animal-based protein.

What Are the Health Benefits of Black Pepper?

  • Black pepper is full of multi-vitamin and mineral content. It is specifically an excellent source of the nutrient manganese which is crucial for bone metabolism and improved wound healing

  • Black pepper is known to exert an anti-inflammatory effect on the body cells because the main active component known as piperine may fight cellular inflammation. As Chronic inflammation is a common cause of several other chronic disease processes like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, and asthma. Black pepper is a part of several supplements like turmeric powder supplements which would possibly help in treating inflammatory conditions as per preliminary nutrition research. Thus, it helps prevent inflammation in the body.

  • Piperine compound is known to have a potent antioxidant activity that can hold promising potential in preventing the effect of harmful free radicals in our bodies. Black pepper consumption is related to the prevention of free radical damage. Such damage is caused by pollutants and compounds present in cigarette smoking. Free radicals are further associated with the development of cardiovascular disease and cancer in predisposing individuals. According to preliminary research studies conducted on black pepper (with its active piperine compound), individuals who consumed a diet of concentrated black pepper every day showed less free radiation damage than those who did not regularly consume or use concentrated black pepper in their diet.

  • Piperine in black pepper is known to play a significant role in alleviating the clinical symptoms associated with both Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. It may also boost brain and cognitive functions, apart from neurocognitive ability improvement. It helps boost increased memory and decreased production of amyloid protein plaques.
  • Nutrition studies also indicate that piperine has the potential to improve or stabilize blood sugar levels. However, it can significantly improve an individual's insulin sensitivity. In one major preliminary research study conducted globally, piperine was capable of boosting insulin sensitivity in 86 individuals who showed insulin resistance and who regularly consumed a piperine-containing supplement for approximately eight weeks or two-month time period.

  • Based on the latest findings in nutrition research, black pepper has been found to have a beneficial effect when consumed alongside nutrient-rich foods. This phenomenon, known as nutrient synergy, refers to the combined impact of black pepper and other foods such as calcium, vitamin B, selenium, green tea, and turmeric on the body. For example, nutrition experts often recommend consuming black pepper indirectly through piperine, as it can enhance the absorption of selenium, vitamin B12, and even turmeric.

What Are the Possible Allergy Reactions?

Individuals who have a history of other allergies are more likely to develop allergies to black pepper as well. If someone experiences any allergic symptoms such as tingling or itching in the mouth, hives on the skin, abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting after consuming foods or supplements containing black pepper, it is important to contact the healthcare provider or allergist as soon as possible. In severe cases of black pepper allergies documented in medical literature, symptoms can worsen to include wheezing, chest congestion, swelling of the mouth or lips, tongue, and even inflammation of the throat. These are signs of a potentially life-threatening food allergy that requires immediate medical attention. For individuals with black pepper allergies, suitable alternatives in their diet include allspice, cayenne pepper, or chili powder. However, it is important to consult with a registered dietician or nutritionist to confirm these alternatives.

What Are the Different Storage Methods?

While one can easily store the peppercorns of the plant in a cool, dry place where they may last almost up to one year. The grounded form of peppercorns which is the conventional black pepper spice may easily lose flavor over time despite favorable storage conditions. Hence it is best to use the pepper within four to six months. It is interesting that more than nearly 600 variations or diverse varieties further exist in Black pepper. However, only a few typical varieties are recommended or available in the market for cooking purposes. Some peppers are available with a citrusy taste, some with a sweet or acidic taste (varies from country to country availability), and black pepper can be used to season, and spice up and can be added to any healthy diet form or blended in with other spices for various flavors.


Black pepper is an excellent nutrient-dense spice recommended by global health experts in addition to any healthy meal. The piperine compound present in this spice not only shows promising antioxidant potential and nutrient synergy, but it can also have an immune-boosting and neuroprotective effect.

Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop
Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop



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