I add pepper to as many items as my athletes will agree to, usually making it a nighttime event, but I will add flecks of it throughout their endurance activities.
The key in this bit of advice is “fresh ground peppercorns.” Just plain pepper can lose its potency very quickly – most people have a can of pepper on their shelf for more than three months.
Whole peppercorns can store indefinitely, and it’s the hard kernel part of the pepper that has the most benefit.
No matter the color of the peppercorn they all will have the same benefits, it just depends on what flavor that you want. Peppercorns are actually a fruit that grows on a vine, and all colors have the same health benefits…green, black or white.
I do want to put a health alert out there for pink peppercorns – they are actually a NUT and will cause a nut allergic reaction. White, green and black peppercorns are my recommendation.
You don’t need to start eating handfuls of pepper, a pinch is enough as a serving. If you’re controlling what an athlete eats for a 24-hour period, it’s easy to get a BIG pinch into their diet.
Pepper is not only an anti-inflammatory but a carminative and what is impressive about that is that it pushes gas DOWN, not up. And that is critical if you have an athlete that gets nauseous, or does not enjoy fueling right away in the morning. An evening meal with fresh pepper will have beneficial agents the next day.
The number one reason I like it on the trail is that it increases bioavailability, AKA the ability for nutrients to get absorbed. So, it’s a standard add on to salads, greens, veggie smoothies, and even a sandwich.
When athletes are craving salt I just need to add a little pepper and I’ll get a double dose of support. White cracked pepper is especially fantastic on nuts and trail mix.
A little known fact is that pepper also promotes sweating, which is a crucial tool for an endurance athlete.
If I have intrigued you in any way on the topic of pepper, I encourage you to read this link written by the masters of pepper at the Spice Jungle. Spices in general are actually quite interesting.