Peppers are used both in whole as well as powdered form. Paprika is prepared by grinding dried bell peppers and chili peppers. It has a mild flavor when compared with the fiery spices such as chili and cayenne peppers, which is due to the low content of capsaicin, a compound which is responsible for causing a burning sensation.
Depending on the type of pepper used, the color varies from orange to deep red.
Paprika is used worldwide especially in dishes and stews. It is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
10 Ways in Which Paprika Benefits Our Health
Paprika is Loaded With Nutrients
Paprika is packed with nutrients and other compounds beneficial for health. One tablespoon provides 19 calories, 4 grams carbohydrates, 2-gram fiber, 19% of the daily value of vitamin A, 13 % of the daily value of vitamin E, 9% of the daily value of vitamin B6, and 8% of daily value to iron.(1)
The spice also contains antioxidants which fight cell damage caused by free radicles.
The antioxidant in paprika includes beta carotene, capsanthin, zeaxanthin, and lutein.(2, 3, 4)
Promotes Healthy Vision
Several nutrients in paprika such as beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E boost eye health (5). Lutein and zeaxanthin prevent eye damage.
A study related a higher dietary intake of these nutrients with low risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.(6, 7)
Few studies show a higher intake of lutein and zeaxanthin being associated with a lower risk of development of cataract and age-related macular degeneration.(8, 9)
Hot varieties of paprika contain capsaicin which binds with the receptors on nerve cells and reduces inflammation and pain.(10, 11)
Various studies show the effect of creams containing capsaicin in reducing the pain due to arthritis and nerve damage.(12) More studies are needed to support the anti-inflammatory effect of capsaicin.
Improves Cholesterol Level
Capsanthin is a carotenoid present in paprika which is associated with raising the level of HDL cholesterol which is associated with a lower risk of heart diseases.(13)
Carotenoids in paprika also decrease the level of LDL cholesterol which is linked with an increased risk of heart disease.
Numerous compounds in paprika such as beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin fight oxidative stress and protect against cancer.(14, 15)
Capsaicin present in paprika inhibits cancer growth and survival by affecting the expression of several genes.(16)
Improves Blood Sugar
Capsaicin in paprika helps in managing diabetes. It influences the genes involved in controlling blood sugar and influences the enzymes that break down sugar in the body and also improves insulin sensitivity.(17, 18)
Maintains Healthy Blood
Paprika contains iron and vitamin E which are vital for healthy blood.
Iron is a part of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells which help in carrying oxygen all through the body. Vitamin E is important to create healthy membranes of red blood cells.
Promotes Sound Sleep
Vitamin B6 present in paprika has powerful neurological effects. It contributes to the production of melatonin, a sleep hormone. This helps maintain a normal sleep cycle.
It also boosts the serotonin and norepinephrine levels both of which help keep you stress-free.
Paprika is Beneficial in Improving Hair Health
Vitamin B6 present in paprika help in preventing hair loss by transferring oxygen to the hair follicles. It also stimulates hair growth and improves circulation to the scalp.
It also is involved in the production of melanin pigment which imparts color to hair. Sweet paprika can be added to henna to impart color to the hair but it is advisable to do a patch test before using it on the scalp.
Skin Health Benefits Of Paprika
Being rich in antioxidant and vitamins it is beneficial for skin in the following ways.
Paprika restricts the production of melanin which is responsible for making the skin darker. Its rich iron, vitamin and beta carotene content prevent the occurrence of freckles and age spots.
Paprika contains antioxidant which prevents the occurrence of wrinkles and lightens sin complexion.
Beta carotene gets converted into vitamin A in the body which plays an important role in maintaining healthy skin.
Prepare a pack of paprika by mixing it with two tablespoons of honey. Apply an even layer on the face and leave it for 20 minutes. It helps in improving the skin tone, preventing age spots, sagging skin, and dullness. It also helps treat blemishes and blackhead, giving the skin a radiant glow.
It is important to go for a patch test so ensure that you are not allergic to it.
Prevents Skin Problems
The antibacterial properties of paprika effectively treat skin problems including acne. Including paprika in diet, help in preventing the occurrence of acne.
Paprika offers a variety of benefits to the body. The benefits can be enjoyed by adding it to the dishes including meat, vegetables, soups, and eggs.