Paprika is a spice derived from red-air dried fruit varieties of sweet or bell pepper, with the scientific name Capsicum annum. It also pertains to the fruit from which the spice is made, along with some pungent forms like chili and cayenne pepper. Usually beneficial in the kitchen, paprika also has the following health benefits.
Paprika contains vitamins A, B, C, E, and iron, as per SF Gate. Vitamin A is great for the vision and the integrity of the skin and the mucus membranes. On the other hand, vitamin B is beneficial to the nervous function, which covers learning, thinking, memory, and sensation. Then, vitamin C is known for its power to boost the body’s defenses against sickness and infection. It also promotes the function of the substance collagen, which acts as cement to connect loose gaps in cells and tissues. Meanwhile, vitamin E promotes skin health and along with vitamins A and C, it also acts as an antioxidant. This means, it helps the body get rid of unwanted substances like free radicals, which often lead to cancer. Along with the aforementioned vitamins, paprika also has iron, which helps in proper oxygenation of cells and tissues. Thus, it prevents conditions like anemia.
Paprika and Antioxidants
Paprika contains other antioxidants, aside from vitamins A, C, and E. According to SF Gate, paprika also has four carotenoids and they are beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin. As per the publications, the first two are transformed into vitamin A variants that enable the eyes to convert light into vision and yield protein that forms skin tissue; nonetheless, all four agents act as antioxidants.
Paprika and Hair
Paprika promotes the health of the hair. According to Style Craze, vitamin B, which is found in the spice, helps prevent hair loss. Also, iron found in paprika also boosts blood flow and oxygenation to the hair follicles, stimulating hair growth. In addition, vitamin B6 in paprika promotes melanin production. Melanin is the pigment responsible for hair color. An interesting note is that paprika powder can be added to henna to yield a reddish tint to the hair. However, a patch test is recommended on the wrist to test for allergic reaction, before using it on the scalp.
Paprika and Aging
Paprika helps reduce the signs of aging. According to The Alternative Daily, paprika reduces wrinkles. The agent responsible for this is beta-carotene, which is converted by the body to retinol or vitamin A. Along with smoothing fine lines and reducing dark spots, beta-carotene also brightens the skin, making pores look smaller.
Paprika can be added to various meal recipes, such as Chicken and Red Wine Sauce. According to All Recipes, the ingredients include a tablespoon of olive oil, a tablespoon of minced garlic, three pounds skinless and boneless chicken breast halves, a cup of brown sugar, a cup of red wine, salt, pepper, and a tablespoon of paprika.
To prepare, as per the publication, oil is heated in a large skillet over medium high heat. Then, garlic is cooked in oil until it becomes tender. Next, the chicken is placed in the skillet and is cooked for about ten minutes on each side, until it becomes brown and the juice runs clear. After that, oil is drained from the skillet and chicken is sprinkled with paprika and a cup of brown sugar. Once done, red wine is poured around the chicken and it is covered and simmered for about 15 to 20 minutes. Next, the chicken is mildly basted with wine sauce while cooking and lastly, the dish is season with salt and pepper.
Paprika is beneficial to health, as evidenced by its nutritional content. Thus, its inclusion to meal recipes helps boost a person’s overall health and wellness.