The “health hack” I’m about to share with you isn’t expensive. And it isn’t fancy.
But it is a quick and easy way to live and feel better starting today.
Assuming you don’t already have this everyday item sitting in a kitchen cabinet, you can head right down to Safeway and pick up a generous portion of what is truly a natural health miracle.
And it will cost you less than two bucks.
Research has shown it could help you…
- Lose weight
- Reduce inflammation
- Digest food more easily
- Improve certain skin conditions
- Treat colds and coughs
- Increase memory function
- Fight at least three types of cancer (including prostate cancer)
- And more.
The science will blow you away.
Put Down the Salt
A lot’s been said about salt and the myriad ways it can help or hurt you. But far too little attention is paid to its counterpart on the spice rack…
The health benefits of black pepper are truly amazing.
Just a tablespoon of black pepper contains 10% of your daily recommended dose of iron… 13% of your daily recommended dose of vitamin K… and 18% of your daily recommended dose of manganese.1
Altogether, these vitamins and minerals are essential to your body’s ability to make red blood cells, form normal blood clots and protect against free radicals. But that’s only the start.
In order to fully understand the benefits of black pepper – and why you should ensure you’re getting enough of it daily – you need to learn about piperine, the powerful bioactive compound it contains.
No Ordinary Kitchen Staple
Though black pepper has been used in traditional medicines for centuries – an ancient text listed it as one of the few medicines Buddhist monks were allowed to carry – scientists first began studying the effects of piperine in the early 1800s.
They extracted and isolated piperine from the fruits (i.e., black peppercorns) of the Piper nigrum plant – pictured right.
They discovered that piperine is an alkaloid similar to capsaicin (which is used in a variety of topical creams and patches for pain relief). It’s what causes black pepper’s distinct spicy flavor.
Now fast-forward a few hundred years and the research gets really exciting.
A 2015 study in Molecular Carcinogenesis showed that piperine can actually inhibit the growth of cancer cells.2
Researchers in Seoul, South Korea, also determined that piperine shows great promise “either as a pharmaceutical or as a dietary supplement for the treatment of arthritis.”3
And yet another study in Food and Chemical Toxicology found that piperine functions as a natural antidepressant. It can even improve cognition.4
But it doesn’t stop there…
How to Make Good Better
In addition to everything I’ve already mentioned, piperine is quickly becoming known for its ability to improve the bioavailability of healthy vitamins, chemicals and compounds, like curcumin, beta-carotene and B12.
That is, it helps improve your body’s ability to absorb these key nutrients and reap their benefits.
The curcumin results are especially encouraging. According to a team at the Department of Pharmacology at St. John’s Medical College, piperine can increase the bioavailability of curcumin by a whopping 2,000%.5
Here’s a quick excerpt from the study in Planta Medica:
The medicinal properties of curcumin obtained from Curcuma longa L. cannot be utilized because of poor bioavailability due to its rapid metabolism in the liver and intestinal wall… piperine enhances the serum concentration, extent of absorption and bioavailability of curcumin in both rats and humans with no adverse effects.
So, in other words, piperine takes what’s good and healthy… and makes it even better.
There’s a reason black pepper was once known among traders as the “king of spices.” Make sure you’re getting plenty of this low-cost, low-calorie super spice as part of your diet.
Dr. Sanjay Jain, MD, MBA