The Medicinal Benefits of Paprika
This is a continuation of my Spice Series. Welcome to my information on Paprika!
**Paprika is my favorite spice, so this is an extra special entry for me. I love how paprika has a range of tastes from sweet to smoky to spicy to savory, all of which depends on how it was dried and prepared.
**One of the reasons that paprika’s flavor can vary is because technically, any member of the ‘Capsicum annuum’ (pepper family) can be dried and ground into paprika (especially red peppers). Cayenne pepper is usually the name for spicy ground ‘Capsicum annuum’ while Paprika is the name for the other flavors. However, there are also official pepper plants that are most often used for paprika including: Alma Paprika, Hungarian Paprika, Dulce Rojo, Fehor Ozon, and Paprika Supreme.
**Paprika is an important spice on its’ own, and it has also become one of the most consumed spice products in the world because of its’ importance in spice blends, including rubs, marinades, and seasoned salts. It is also popular because of the bright red coloring it can produce in foods and other products.
This post is about the Medicinal Benefits of Paprika.
I also wrote this post on the Culinary Uses of Paprika. Check it out!
Medicinal Benefits of Paprika
**Paprika’s medicinal benefits are focused mainly around the fact that it comes from the ‘Capsicum annuum’ pepper plant family. This plant family is loaded with a very important chemical compound called Capsaicin.
**Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili peppers and cause their heat. Capsaicin has many health benefits that are found in paprika, along with other peppers in this family. The health benefits include:
**Paprika has antibacterial properties in it that help naturally control bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli. It does not necessarily stop these bacteria, but it does slow down their growth.
**The anti-inflammatory properties of capsaicin can help ease arthritis and joint pain. This is one of paprika’s strongest properties.
**Paprika is high in antioxidants because it is rich in vitamins A and E (see below). Antioxidants counteract or neutralize free radicals and their destructive effects on the body.
4. Relieves Pain:
**Capsaicin is an effective pain reliever when it is applied externally. There are many ointments and creams made with capsaicin to help with things like headaches, arthritis, and psoriasis.
**Paprika’s capsaicin properties are a stimulant in many different ways. It stimulates the production of saliva and stomach acids, which thus improves digestion. It also stimulates the cardiovascular system and thus improves blood circulation and blood pressure.
In addition to Capsaicin, Paprika is also filled with the following nutrients:
**1 tablespoon of paprika has 9% of your recommended daily intake of iron (based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet)*. Iron helps carry oxygen through your body and helps with energy levels.
- Vitamin A:
**Paprika has multiple chemical compounds in it that convert to vitamin A. 1 teaspoon of paprika has 37% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin A (based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet)*. Vitamin A supports cell growth, is an antioxidant, and plays many important roles throughout our bodies.
- Vitamin E:
**Vitamin E is an antioxidant that is essential to your health and your skin. 1 teaspoon of paprika has 5% of the daily intake of vitamin E recommended for your body*.
- Vitamin B-6:
**1 teaspoon of paprika has 4% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin B-6*. Vitamin B-6 is part of a group of coenzymes that are responsible for creating glucose, producing hemoglobin, and reducing your chance of developing cardiovascular issues.
- Vitamin C:
**Paprika is unusually highly loaded with vitamin C, an important nutrient for keeping our immune systems strong. It contains 6-9 times as much vitamin C as tomatoes, and it can be an important way to get Vitamin C in your daily diet.
**It is possible that paprika might help prevent your body from getting certain cancers, but this is something that still needs much research done on the subject. In the meantime, it is safe to say that adding paprika to your diet is a wonderful thing due to the strong medicinal benefits.
**Important note: It is very possible for the health benefits of paprika to become lost through incorrect processing. For example, capsaicin is very sensitive to how it is dried. Many commercially-dried peppers for paprika are exposed to high heat to dry quickly, and this often leaches away the essential vitamins and nutrients. The best way to get the medicinal benefits of paprika is from peppers dried naturally in the sun or on a low temperature in a dehydrator. Stay tuned for my post on how to grow and/or dry your own paprika, so that you can have confidence in the quality of your spice.
**Do YOU use paprika often? Do you have a favorite recipe that you would like to share? Please feel free to leave comments below!
**Don’t forget to check out my Spice Series for information on other spices!
**Stay tuned for my post on how to grow Paprika!
**Check out my post on the Culinary Uses of Paprika!
Do you love this painting of Paprika?
**You can buy this Paprika print as well as many other beautiful Spices prints and/or other prints from the fantastic artist Christy Beckwith by clicking here. She is SO talented and I would LOVE to see her lovely prints go to good homes!
*: I got most of these ratios from the following article: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/paprika-good-health-2860.html
Guess what? I was a featured post!