Peppers come in different varieties and are both used and sold across the globe. When talking about peppers, it is hard to ignore paprika. It is basically a spice that is made using the dried peppers of a plan called Capsicum annuum. As compared to other spices such as cayenne and chili peppers, paprika has a mild flavor due to featuring a lower concentration of capsaicin, which causes a burning sensation.
Furthermore, it comes in a variety of colors such as yellow, red, and orange. Researchers have studied the relationship between paprika and its potential health benefits for years and have found positive results. Let us take a detailed look into what paprika has to offer.
Paprika is loaded with nutrients
The first thing you should about paprika is that it is loaded with powerful and beneficial compounds. A one-cup serving of paprika offers 19 grams of calories, 4 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, and many other essential vitamins. Although it might seem a small amount but it provides 20% of our daily Vitamin A intake. Furthermore, paprika also contains a huge concentration of antioxidants that fight against free radical cells possessing the ability to cause harmful diseases such as cancer.
Might help improve vision
Another important benefit of paprika is that it might help improve your vision. The reason is that it contains vitamin E, lutein, beta carotene, and zeaxanthin. Infact, numerous studies have been conducted to study the relationship between the intake of some of these nutrients and decreased risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. With that being said, lutein and zeaxanthin in particular might help prevent damage to the eyes. A study conducted on 1,800 women found that those who consumed a large amount of lutein and zeaxanthin have 32% fewer chances of developing cataracts as compared to those who did not.
Might help reduce inflammation
It has been observed that many paprika varieties especially the hot ones tend to contain a compound called capsaicin. It is said that capsaicin sticks to the nerve cells’ receptors and prevents pain and inflammation. As a result, paprika might help with several autoimmune and inflammatory conditions including, nerve damage, arthritis, and digestive issues. In addition to that, several studies have shown that topical creams containing capsaicin help reduce pain caused by arthritis and nerve damage. A study conducted on 376 adults suffering from gastrointestinal diseases found that the consumption of capsaicin help prevents stomach damage and inflammation.
Might help improve cholesterol levels
Paprika contains capsanthin, which is basically a carotenoid associated with raising levels of HDL good cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease. One study conducted on rats for two-weeks consisting of paprika and capsanthin diets experienced a noticeable increase in HDL levels as compared to those who did not consume them. Additionally, the carotenoids in paprika were also observed to decrease the level of total and LDL bad cholesterol, which is associated with increasing the risk of heart disease.
Might possess anti-cancer effects
Paprika contains a large concentration of antioxidants such as lutein, beta carotene, and zeaxanthin that are known to fight oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can increase the chances of cancer, therefore, these powerful antioxidants might help fight against free radical cells. A massive study conducted on nearly 2,000 women found that those who had high levels of beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, had 25-35% fewer chances of developing breast cancer.
Might help improve blood sugar control
The capsaicin found in paprika might help manage diabetes as well. The reason is that capsaicin influences the genes involved in blood sugar control and the enzymes that help break down sugar. A study conducted on 42 pregnant women suffering from diabetes consuming 5-mg capsaicin supplement helped decrease the blood sugar levels after consuming a meal. Another 4-week study conducted on 36 adults found that diets containing capsaicin significantly helped decrease the insulin levels post-meals.
Important for healthy blood
Healthy blood requires iron and vitamin E and paprika happens to contain both of them. Furthermore, Iron happens to be an important part of hemoglobin that is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout your body. On the other hand, vitamin E is essential for healthy cell membranes. Therefore, if there was a deficiency of either of these, your blood cell count might drop. Lastly, vitamin E helps repair damaged red blood cells as well. If there happens to be a deficiency, it might lead to anemia.
Easy to add to your diet
Thanks to the versatility of paprika, it can be added directly into many dishes. Some people use it as a dressing, whereas others like to add them while cooking to give the dish a unique flavor. Depending on the cultivation and the processing of pepper, paprika may differinterms of color and taste. Since it features a touch of smokiness as well, it can be used to season potato salad, meats, and eggs. This makes it easy to add to your daily diets, while you get to reap the benefits each time.
Paprika is a powerful spice. Since several studies have been conducted on its potential health benefits, therefore, it is only right that you add it into your daily diet. With a combination of powerful antioxidants and vitamins, paprika is something you should consider consuming daily.