11 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Black Pepper

Medically Reviewed on 8/10/2022
11 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Black Pepper
Due to its high concentration of beneficial health properties, black pepper is known as “the king of spices”

Black pepper is one of the most common spices used worldwide. Made with ground peppercorns, black pepper has a mildly spicy flavor and strong aroma that pairs well with a wide variety of dishes.

Due to its high concentration of beneficial properties, black pepper is known as “the king of spices” and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for many years.

Black pepper contains piperine, a compound that is behind its health benefits which include lowered inflammation and improved brain function.

Learn about the 11 health benefits of black pepper.

11 science-backed health benefits of black pepper

1. Rich source of antioxidants

Free radicals are unstable atoms that can damage cells. Some are created naturally (during digestion or exercise), and some are formed upon exposure to pollutants.

When free radicals build up in the body, they can cause damage that leads to health problems such as heart disease and cancer.

Black pepper contains piperine, a plant compound that possesses antioxidant properties, which play an important role in fighting free radical damage. According to one animal study, black pepper can reduce oxidative stress on the cells and help slow tumor growth.

2. Anti-inflammatory properties

Some lab studies have suggested that piperine, the main active compound in black pepper, may be effective in fighting inflammation and preventing conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

In addition, piperine suppresses inflammation in the airways caused by asthma and seasonal allergies.

3. Helps fight bacteria

Black pepper has antibacterial properties, which help prevent bacterial growth and food spoilage. 

According to a study, the antibacterial effects of black pepper are due to the chloroform extract that works against E. coli, a common bacterium that causes foodborne illness. Researchers concluded that these antibacterial properties make black pepper an excellent natural food preservative.

4. Promotes mental health

In animal studies, piperine in black pepper has been linked to improving brain function and memory, with some studies suggesting that black pepper may help protect the brain cells against stress.

Another study suggested that piperine helps repair myelin, a protective covering around the nerve cells. It has shown potential benefits for symptoms caused by degenerative brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

5. Helps regulate blood sugar

Piperine extract may also help lower blood sugar levels. In one animal study, rats that were fed a black pepper extract had a smaller spike in blood sugar levels after consuming glucose than rats in the control group. Although human studies are needed to confirm the benefit of black pepper on blood sugar, these are promising findings that warrant further research.

6. May help lower cholesterol levels

High cholesterol is one of the many risk factors for cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death for both men and women.

Results of one animal study suggest that black pepper may help reduce cholesterol in the cells and significantly reduce body weight. Piperine is believed to boost the absorption of dietary supplements that have potential cholesterol-lowering effects.

7. May help fight cancer

Although there are no human studies on the anti-cancer effects of black pepper, there have been test-tube studies suggesting that piperine may help fight prostate, colon, and breast cancer.

Although piperine has shown promising effects in lab studies in reversing multi-drug resistance in cancer cells, more human studies are necessary to make a strong conclusion.

8. Enhances nutrient absorption

Studies have reported that black pepper may increase the absorption of the active component of turmeric (curcumin) by 2,000%.

Moreover, piperine increases the absorption of essential nutrients such as calcium and selenium.

9. Aids digestion

Piperine in black pepper positively stimulates the release of digestive enzymes and reduces the time it takes to digest food.

Some research studies suggest that black pepper may also increase the good bacteria in the gut, which can help prevent certain gastrointestinal disorders. Daily consumption of black pepper can reduce the likelihood of H. pylori infection, a type of bacteria that causes stomach infection.

Black pepper also has carminative properties, which help reduce discomfort and gas buildup in the intestines

10. Helps lower blood pressure

High blood pressure affects nearly half of Americans and can increase the risk of heart diseases, stroke, and other health problems. 

Animal studies have reported that piperine in black pepper has a blood pressure-lowering effect.

11. May reduce appetite

In one small study, participants who drank a beverage made from black pepper reported reduced appetite compared to when drinking flavored water. However, more studies are needed to confirm whether there is a link between black pepper and suppressed appetite. 


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What is the nutritional profile of black pepper?

Table. Nutritional facts in 1 teaspoon (2.3 grams) of ground black pepper
Nutrient Amount
Calories 5.77
Protein 0.23 grams
Carbohydrates 1.47 grams
Fiber 0.5 grams
Sugar 0 grams
Calcium 10.2 milligrams
Iron 0.2 milligrams
Magnesium 3.93 milligrams
Phosphorus 3.63 milligrams
Potassium 30.6 milligrams
Sodium 0.46 milligrams
Vitamin E 0.024 milligrams
Vitamin K 3.77 micrograms
Vitamin A 12.6 micrograms

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Medically Reviewed on 8/10/2022
Image Source: iStock image

What Are the Health Benefits of Black Pepper? Cleveland Clinic: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/benefits-of-black-pepper/

Dan Brennan. Black Pepper: Health Benefits, Nutrition, and Uses. WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-black-pepper