When you have any food seasoned with Szechuan pepper, you may find it hard to stop eating. You could get addicted to it! Szechuan pepper has a strong flavor that leaves your tongue with a tingling sensation. It numbs your tongue, opening the pores of the taste buds, which is good, as it enhances the flavors of the other ingredients.
What exactly is Szechuan pepper?
Szechuan pepper is spicy “exterior-cover” of berries belonging to the “prickly-ash” tree. These peppercorns have a sharp, pungent, yet flavorful, coverings. It is also one of the ingredients that is used in Chinese “five spices” powder.
The Prickly ash tree is a citrus family, a flowering plant native to the mountainous Szechuan region of China. It is a small-sized tree featuring numerous short, stout spines appear on the woody branches and leaf petioles as in a lemon plant. During winter, flowers appear in slender cymes which subsequently develop into tiny reddish-brown berries by the end of spring. Once the berry is ripe, it split open to release round, black seeds from inside. After the deseeding process, the “outer coat” (husk) is gathered and employed as “Szechuan peppercorn spice”, and their seeds are discarded.
Szechuan peppercorns are different from black peppercorns which are native to the Indian subcontinent, in plant characteristics, aroma and hotness. Szechuan peppers feature anise-like flavor with slight tangy taste and produce less pronounced pungency than black peppercorns. (Source)
Szechuan pepper contains different nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants that are required by the body to function properly. Some of the most significant components include vitamin A, potassium, manganese, iron, copper, zinc and phosphorus. In addition to these nutrients, it also has a wide variety of phytosterols, carotenes and terpenes. It is one of the most popular spices in the world, with countless health benefits. Szechuan pepper has the ability to stimulate the immune system, to reduce pain, boost appetite, increase blood circulation, strengthen bones, and reduce inflammation.
Here are 8 health benefits of Szechuan pepper:
- Helps stimulate circulation: If you are feeling lethargic, light headed and weak you may be suffering from anemia due to iron deficiency. Consuming Szechuan pepper may help increase the hemoglobin content in your body and stimulate the circulatory system as it contains a high amount of iron.
- Helps reduce pain: Szechuan pepper functions as an analgesic and the chemicals present in it can occupy the pain receptors. It thus helps eliminate the nervous system from generating discomfort and pain. This may not be a cure for pain, but it acts as a treatment and can be used for topical application on the affected area.
- Helps improve immunity: This pepper contains a high level of zinc, a potent mineral essential for improving the immunity of the body. There are a few signs of zinc deficiency and it can easily go unnoticed which is why it is necessary to keep the zinc content in check. Consuming Szechuan pepper might do the trick.
- Helps increase appetite: When you are recovering from illness, it may be difficult to get your appetite back. But to heal your body faster, you need to consume healthy food. This pepper contains various nutrients that stimulate the appetite and improve the speed of metabolism. This way, you can derive the nutrients from the food and heal faster.
- Helps strengthen the bones: This pepper contains essential minerals such as phosphorous, manganese, copper and iron which are necessary to strengthen bones and help prevent age-related conditions such as osteoporosis. It is important to supplement our mineral intake and this pepper is a good source of minerals.
- Helps eliminate inflammation: It contains various antioxidants including phytosterols and terpenes; it has natural anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body. Inflammation of the body may be caused due to oxidative stress, which in turn is caused due to free radicals in the body. The compound found in Szechuan pepper neutralizes the free radicals and stops the inflammation at the root.
- Helps protect the stomach: It can also help stimulate the process, and speed up, metabolism while reducing any form of inflammation of the stomach. It can help prevent conditions such as stomach cramps, bloating and constipation.
- Helps lower blood pressure: This pepper contains significant levels of potassium, which is good for cardiovascular health. It also helps relax the blood vessels preventing high blood pressure and lowers the potential effect of cholesterol. Thus, preventing heart attacks and strokes.
These are some of the health benefits associated with Szechuan pepper. Do you want to try out this interesting spice? You can visit our store if you would like to buy Szechuan pepper!
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