My mother used to sprinkle paprika on all sorts of things — deviled eggs, rice, potatoes and even soups and stews. It added color and a sweet, smoky flavor, which to this day still reminds me of my childhood. What I now know is that, as good as it tastes, this simple, colorful spice is awesome for my health.
Paprika is made by grinding bell peppers and chili peppers. Technically, any member of the pepper family (Capsicum annum) can be used. However, more often than not the following plants are used alma paprika, Hungarian paprika, feher ozon, paprika supreme and dulce rojo.
Thanks to my mother, I love to include paprika in many of my favorite dishes today. I even keep an extra bit around for a variety of medicinal uses.
Valuable properties found in paprika
Here are some of the potent properties found in paprika that give it such a powerful medicinal punch:
- Vitamin A and carotenoids
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B complex
- Essential minerals including calcium, zinc, magnesium, potassium, iron and phosphorus
Below, I have outlined 16 benefits of paprika… some of them may surprise you.
Paprika helps heal wounds: Because it contains a good amount of Vitamin E, paprika helps the body produce red blood cells. In addition, it helps in the formation of clots, which aids in rapid wound healing. If you cut yourself, sprinkle some of the powder on the wound and press down with a clean cloth for a few seconds.
Paprika reduces wrinkles: Paprika contains beta-carotene that the body converts to vitamin A (retinol). Retinol is imperative for healthy skin. It smoothes fine line, reduces dark spots and skin imperfections, brightens the skin and makes pores look smaller. I will let you in on a little beauty secret of mine. I make an anti-aging mask weekly by mixing three tablespoons of raw honey with 1.5 tablespoons of paprika. I put the mask on my face for about 30 minutes and rinse with warm water. My skin feels fresh, smooth and vibrant when I am done.
Paprika is an anti-inflammatory: People suffering from autoimmune or other inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis, find relief from swelling, aches and pains when they consume paprika daily. You can also make a poultice and apply it to the sore area to stimulate circulation and reduce pain.
Paprika helps treat skin problems: This amazing spice is loaded with antibacterial properties that make it effective against any skin problems associated with bacteria, including acne.
Paprika protects the eyes: Vitamin A, found in paprika, helps prevent night blindness and macular degeneration. In addition, this group of antioxidants allows the surface of the eye, mucous membranes and skin to be effective barriers to bacteria and viruses. This reduces the risk of eye infections. Lutein and zeaxanthin help prevent light rays from damaging delicate eye tissues.
Paprika may protect from cancer: Beta-carotene has been found to reduce the risk of numerous forms of cancer. In one study, researchers found that increasing beta-carotene consumption from 1.7 to 2.7 milligrams daily reduced the risk of lung cancer by more than 40 percent.
Paprika may help you sleep: Paprika contains vitamin B6 or pyridoxine which helps the body convert food energy into glucose, metabolize fats and proteins, and make sure that the nervous system is functioning well. It also supports the production of melatonin that will help you maintain a normal sleep cycle. And that’s not all it does. It also boosts serotonin and norepinephrine that help you maintain a level disposition.
Paprika reduces spider veins: Spider veins are superficial blood vessels similar to varicose veins, only smaller and closer to the skin. They often occur behind the knee, but are not limited to this location. Paprika contains certain properties that strengthen the veins and blood, thus reducing the chance of spider veins occurring.
Paprika decreases the risk of heart attack and stroke: Paprika contains potassium which allows it to act like a vasodilator, decreasing vascular resistance and increasing blood flow and circulation. This, in turn, reduces the risk of hardening of the arteries, strokes, and heart attack.
Paprika helps maintain hair color: Vitamin B6, found in paprika is instrumental in the production of melanin, a pigment that imparts color to hair. Sweet paprika powder added to henna will give a reddish tint to the hair. Be sure to test a small amount on your wrist before using on your entire head.
Paprika prevents scurvy and boosts immunity: Scurvy is a very serious, yet rare disease. It causes gums to swell and bleed, diarrhea, depression, swollen bones, rapid breathing, jaundice and more. The root cause of scurvy is a deficiency of vitamin C. Paprika is rich in this essential vitamin that is considered a miracle worker when it comes to maintaining a robust immune system.
Paprika prevents hair loss: The iron found in paprika helps with oxygen transfer to hair follicles, which encourages hair growth by improving circulation to the scalp. In addition, B6 also helps to prevent hair loss.
Paprika boosts energy: As mentioned, paprika is a rich source of vitamin B6, which is a coenzyme that enables 100 different enzymes to work properly. These enzymes cause biochemical reactions throughout the body that produce energy. In addition, the iron found in paprika transports oxygen throughout the body and is a part of a number of proteins, which create energy. A healthy daily dose of paprika will help to keep your energy levels elevated.
Paprika has powerful laxative properties: As little as 100 grams of paprika contains a whopping 35 grams of dietary fiber. If you suffer from regular constipation, including paprika in your diet may be just the answer you have been looking for.
Paprika supports healthy metabolism: According to a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, paprika may promote weight loss.
Paprika supports healthy digestion: Paprika balances out stomach acid and promotes healthy digestion by increasing saliva and stomach acids, both of which break down foods and help make nutrients available for energy.
There you have it! Sixteen awesome reasons to add more paprika to your diet. Just be sure that you are purchasing a high-quality spice, preferably organic!
Susan is the Content Director at The Alternative Daily, a Certified Health Coach, Certified Metabolic Typing Advisor and Master Gardener. With an extensive knowledge of whole foods and wellness, Susan enjoys educating others on how to live healthy and sustainable lives. She presently lives in Springerville Arizona with her three daughters and numerous animals.