Guess you have seen paprika in spice stores and wondered where it is made from or the health benefits associated with the consumption of paprika
Paprika has a lot of health benefits and including it in your diet can help improve eye health, reduce inflammation, promotes healthy skin, anti-cancer properties, improves blood sugar, and a lot more in this article.
To begin with;
What is paprika?
Paprika is a ground spice made from dried fruits of a variety of the plant capsicum annum. It is one of the most popular spices used to make various cuisines and it is loved for its amazing flavor and color.
Paprika is used as a garnish and seasoning of many cuisines but is widely used in Hungarian cuisine. When heated, paprika releases to color and flavor. For this reason, it is used by many commercial foods and cosmetic manufactures to add color to the food and other products.
There are three different types of paprika.
- Hungarian paprika.
Paprika is very popular in Hungary and in fact, it is the national spice of Hungary.
The Hungarian paprika is made from peppers that have been roasted, sorted, toasted, and blended to create different varieties.
It comes in 8 different flavor profiles ranging from mild to spicy pungent and pale orange.
- Spanish paprika.
Also known as pimento Spanish paprika is made with smoked peppers which gives them a deeper, smokier flavor and taste.
- Plain paprika.
This is mixed with other chilies like cayenne and is neither sweet nor hot. It is usually the type you normally see in the grocery stores and is just labeled paprika. It has the least flavor without much sweetness or hotness. It is more for the color than the flavor.
What are paprika’s health benefits?
Paprika is made from ground peppers and it has a lot of beneficial compounds such as Vitamin A, capsaicin, and carotenoid antioxidants that contribute to its health benefits. The health benefits of paprika are;
1. Highly nutritious.
In paprika, you will find a lot of nutrients that are beneficial to the body. In Paprika you will find
- Calories: 19
- Protein: less than 1 gram
- Fat: less than 1 gram
- Carbs: 4 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Vitamin A, E, and B6.
Paprika is also loaded with a variety of antioxidants such as beta carotene, capsanthin, zeaxanthin, and lutein. These antioxidants can help fight cell damage. Including paprika in your meal can help you meet your body’s nutrient demands.
2. Paprika is great for the skin.
Paprika reverses aging effects. Paprika is rich in beta-carotene which the body converts into vitamin A.
Vitamin A promotes anti-aging by reducing wrinkles and promoting a bright skin complexion.
Taking about skin complexion, the vitamins, iron, and beta-carotene found in paprika improves the complexion by reducing the production of melanin of the skin.
Paprika has antibacterial properties and with these, it is effective against skin problems caused by bacteria such as acne.
Have you ever seen a paprika face mask? Paprika can be used to make a face mask that can reduce fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, sagging skin, and promotes overall skin health.
Related: Spices and herbs for a glowing skin
3. Paprika may improve eyesight.
Paprika contains vitamin E, beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin which are nutrients that improve eye health.
The compounds Lutein and zeaxanthin act as antioxidants to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
From a study, the intake of dietary lutein and zeaxanthin decreased the risks of having neovascular AMD, geographic atrophy, and large or extensive intermediate drusen.
In another study was aimed at finding the role of lutein and zeaxanthin carotenoids in eye health. From the study, it was discovered that lutein and zeaxanthin carotenoids were linked to a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
4. Paprika reduces inflammation.
Paprika can help to fight and reduce inflammation. The anti-inflammatory properties in paprika are attributed to the compound capsaicin that has a lot of inflammatory properties.
Capsaicin binds with receptors of the nerve cells to reduce inflammation and pain. With these anti-inflammatory properties, paprika can help protect against many inflammatory and autoimmune conditions such as arthritis, nerve damage, and digestive issues.
It is for this reason that you will find capsaicin in supplements that are meant for reducing inflammation.
In a study done on lab rats, levels of inflammation associated with autoimmune nerve conditions reduced after just 10 days of being given capsaicin supplements.
5. Paprika may have anti-cancer properties.
Paprika has a lot of compounds that affect different cancer types. Compounds such as beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, can fight oxidative stress which is known for increasing the risk of certain cancers.
Capsaicin found in paprika can also inhibit the growth of cancer cells and fight oxidative stress that is related to cancer as seen in this study. Therefore, having paprika will decrease the risks of cancer as well as killing cancer-causing cells in their early stages.
However, more research is needed to determine the potential of paprika for prevention and reducing the risk of cancer.
6. It’s great for the hair.
People who regularly consume paprika have healthy hair. Paprika is rich in vitamins and minerals that are essential for hair health.
Paprika can prevent hair loss since it is rich in vitamin B6, iron, and other healthy hair nutrients. These nutrients also help to maintain hair color by boosting the production of melanin that helps maintain hair color.
You might be interested in Spices and herbs for healthy hair.
7. Paprika plays a role in the formation of blood.
Since iron is essential in the formation of hemoglobin, getting enough from paprika can help the red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. Vitamin E on the other side is essential in the creation of healthy membranes for blood cells. A deficiency of iron and vitamin E may lead to a low red blood cell count leading to anemia.
8. Paprika can improve blood sugar control and diabetes
Capsaicin which is the main compound in paprika helps to control blood sugar and manage diabetes.
According to PubMed; Capsaicin Reduces Blood Glucose by Increasing Insulin Levels and Glycogen Content Better than Capsiate in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats.
Capsaicin found in paprika affects blood sugar and can inhibit enzymes that breakdown sugar in the body. Regular intake of paprika can also improve insulin sensitivity.
What are the side effects of Paprika?
Paprika is generally healthy most especially when consumed in food amounts. However, just like any other spice, when consumed in huge amounts, it can cause harm.
It will also pose side effects to people who have got allergic reactions to capsicum which is a compound found in many hot spices. If you happen to have allergic reactions to hot spices, then you might probably have it with paprika.
Side effects are also more likely to occur to people on certain medications and therefore it is recommended to ask for advice from your doctor if paprika will not have negative reactions with your medications.
These are the side effects you are likely to get from the use of paprika;
- Stomach complications.
- Cough especially when inhaled.
- Eye irritations.
- Runny nose.
- Too much sweating.
- Swelling of the body most especially the face and lips.
- Continued burning sensation in the mouth
Many of these side effects are minor and will fade soon after you stop eating paprika or take a lot of water. If the side effects last for hours, it is high time you speak to your doctor.
How to add Paprika to our diet
Paprika is cooked in different ways due to different recipes around the world. It is added to food to give it an amazing color and taste.
Examples of recipes that use Paprika.
Besides being put in food while cooking, paprika can be added to your diet in different ways;
- Seasoning of meat.
- Sprinkled on salads.
- Sprinkled on roasted potatoes.
- Combined with other spices.
- Used as a garnishing.
The bottom line.
Paprika can be used to make great dishes and applies to many dishes. It has a lot of health benefits and including it in your diet can help you have a healthier life.
Paprika has shown potential in improving eye health, blood health, improving blood sugar, good for the hair, and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Sign up for the newsletter to receive healthy foods and their benefits directly to your inbox.