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Indian, Moroccan, and many European cuisines (Spanish, Austrian, and Hungarian) wouldn’t be as much delicious and enjoyable as they are unless they include one secret ingredient, one powerful substance: paprika.
These colorful vegetables became an important part of many continental savory dishes we adore. The spice we use to add a sweet or mild-spicy kick to our food is made from grinding dried bell peppers and chili peppers. The flavor differs in comparison to chili and cayenne peppers, however, when it comes to nutritional value, paprika is an aggressive spice packed with essential vitamins and minerals.
The spice’s colors varies because the Capscium annuum family of peppers include sweet bell peppers, hot red pepper, hot green peppers and other varieties.
Why is paprika a health booster?
Vitamin A – Paprika has four carotenoids: beta-cryptoxanthin, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin – the first two are converted into vitamin A. All carotenoids function as antioxidants, preventing many chronic illnesses, and improving the immune system. Lutein and zeaxanthin are the primary antioxidants responsible for eyes health. One teaspoon of paprika has 37 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A.
Vitamin E – An antioxidant that protects the body from damaging free radicals is another important vitamin that paprika contains. One teaspoon of paprika has 5 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin E.
Vitamin C – Bell paprika has an excellent source of vitamin C – 117 milligrams per cup, which is more than twice the amount of vitamin C found in orange.
Vitamin B6 – Paprika is rich in this coenzyme that initiate biochemical reactions responsible for creating glucose and the production of neurotransmitters. Vitamin B6 lowers the chance of developing cardiovascular diseases. One teaspoon of paprika has 4 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin B-6.
Iron – a mineral responsible for carrying oxygen through the body and creating energy in the organism. From one teaspoon of paprika, the women get 3 percent of daily-recommended intake, while men get 6 percent.
Capsaicin – an active ingredient that causes the heat in chili peppers. Capsaicin relaxes blood vessels, lowering blood pressure and is very beneficial as a pain reliever. Paprika has a lower amount of capsaicin in comparison to cayenne pepper, however, still valuable amount.
Manganese, potassium and magnesium – Paprika has a great amount of these important minerals: one cup of paprika has 0.10 milligrams of manganese, 194 milligrams of potassium, and 11 milligrams of magnesium.
The color of the bell peppers can show you which nutrients they contain, for instance, if they are yellow they have high amount of lutein, and zeaxanthin, if red, they have astaxanthin and lycopene, if orange, they are rich in alpha, beta and gamma-carotene and if purple, these bell peppers are rich in anthocyanin.
What health benefits we have from consuming paprika? How can we boost our health?
Vitamin B6 is vital in enabling 100 other enzymes to perform their functions in the body. These other enzymes initiate biochemical processes in the body, creating energy, and providing glucose. Other important nutrient for creating energy is iron, which carries the oxygen thought out the body. Paprika is known as a stimulant and energizer, and can be used to treat tiredness, lethargy and depression.
As mentioned, paprika contains carotenoids, which are important for eyes health. When converted into vitamin A, this vitamin is used by eyes to turn light into vision. In particular, carotenoids lutein and zea-xanthin reduce the risk of developing cataracts and age related macular degeneration.
Essential vitamins and minerals in paprika protect against cardiovascular diseases, that is, heart attack and stroke. Vitamin E reduces the risk of heart disease by preventing damage caused by free radicals. Iron, magnesium, and potassium help purify the blood and improve heart health.
Paprika is particularly beneficial for people who suffer from inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. It can help relieve swelling caused by arthritis and relieve other pains in the body.
Due to capsaicin, paprika is helpful in lowering blood pressure because this compound relaxes the blood vessels.
Paprika is a stimulant and aids in digestion by normalizing acid in the stomach and boosting saliva. It is often used to treat indigestion.
Paprika promotes healthy sleep due to vitamin B6, which has powerful psychological and neurological effects. This vitamin contributes to the production of melatonin, “sleep hormone”, helping with normal sleep cycle. It also boost body’s levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, stress-reducing hormones.
Iron is involved in the formation of red blood cells, and vitamin C enables the body to absorb iron. Including paprika in your diet help prevents anemia.
Paprika has antibacterial properties – a protein found in paprika inhibits the growth of certain bacteria, such as E. coli and Salmonella. These bacteria are often transferred through ingestion, thus including paprika in your diet helps inhibit their growth.
Cuts and wound healing
Vitamin E helps form clots in case of cuts and wounds, because it helps in the production of red cells.
Paprika prevents the occurrence of freckles and age spots due to rich content of vitamins, beta-carotene and iron. Vitamin A prevents the appearance of wrinkles, free lines and sagging skin, and promotes a bright complexion.
Vitamin B6 prevents hair loss, iron helps transfer the oxygen to the hair follicles, and it stimulates the hair growth by improving circulation.
How can you use paprika as a home remedy?
If you have cold feet, you can cut up bell peppers and put them in your socks. The “mild hot” will keep your feet warm.
If you notice the symptoms of sore throat, gargle the juice made from bell peppers, it has great anti-septic properties.
For nose bleeding, you can use the rich amount of vitamin C to help heal and repair the lining of the mucous membranes and prevent nose bleeding. For better effect, you can mix the juice from the bell peppers with lotus root juice.
Whether used as spice or eaten raw, paprika is one of the most amazing health-boosting vegetables. Paprika adds a distinct flavor to a dish, and if you are not sure how to include paprika in your nutrition, you can learn how to prepare chicken paprikas.
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