10 Healthy Pantry Must-Haves

By Leslie Goldman

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black pepper
Scott Little

5. Black Pepper

This spice rack staple is an unsung nutritional superstar. It delivers a tremendous flavor punch for zero calories and just a few pennies and can be found on practically every restaurant table in America. Capsaicin, the compound responsible for pepper's heat, may have anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Black pepper is also an excellent alternative for anyone looking to cut salt from his or her diet: It's sodium-free but enhances food's flavor in a similar way.

A grinder will give you the freshest taste, so try buying whole black peppercorns and grind as you need it over salads, eggs, tomatoes, pizza, and anywhere you want to kick up the flavor a notch.

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