Health Benefits of Paprika

Paprika is a ground spice made from dried varieties of peppers. It ranges from sweet to hot in intensity, and some varieties of paprika have a smoky flavor. Most are mild. The color of paprika can also vary from bright orange to deep red. Paprika is used in various cuisines around the world, including Hungarian, Spanish, and Mexican cuisines. 

Paprika can be found in the spice aisle of most supermarkets and grocery stores. 

Health Benefits

Paprika contains capsaicin, a compound found in peppers that has been shown to have a wide range of health benefits. For example, it has antioxidant properties, can help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, improve immunity, and even alleviate gas.

In addition, paprika can provide other health benefits like:

Pain Relief

Capsaicin has been shown to have analgesic effects, and it is used therapeutically for pain management. Some topical pain treatments include capsaicin as an ingredient.

Healthy Weight

The capsaicin in paprika may have anti-obesity and appetite-suppressing properties. Studies have shown that it improves fat metabolism, especially the oxidation of abdominal fat. Capsaicin may also reduce appetite and caloric intake when incorporated as part of a healthy diet.

Other compounds in paprika called xanthophylls also show the ability to reduce abdominal fat and BMI.

UV Protection

Incorporating paprika into your diet may help protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun. In a double-blind placebo-controlled study, dietary paprika xanthophylls suppressed UV-induced skin damage.

Cancer Prevention

Several studies point to the anti-cancer effects of capsaicin. Incorporating capsaicin-containing paprika into your diet may provide protection against a wide variety of cancers.

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Nutrition

Paprika is rich in calcium, potassium, and phosphorus, all of which are important for building strong teeth, bones, and muscle.

Paprika is also a good source of:

Nutrients per Serving

A 1 tsp serving of paprika (the amount typically used to flavor dishes) contains:

Portion Sizes

Since paprika is a spice used to flavor dishes, the portion sizes for paprika are small compared to other foods. Most recipes will call for about a teaspoon. 

How to Prepare Paprika

You can find paprika in hot, sweet, and smoked varieties. It adds piquancy and a vibrant color to dishes.

Paprika is often used in barbecue sauces and meat marinades. It is a common ingredient in traditional recipes like goulash, chicken paprikash, and paella. 

Here are some ways to use paprika in recipes:

  • Sprinkle on roasted potatoes
  • Season grilled chicken with paprika, salt, and pepper
  • Stir into hummus
  • Combine with other spices in a dry rub blend for grilling meat
  • Add to batter for frying chicken
  • Use as a garnish for deviled eggs
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 17, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Appetite: “Effects of Twelve Weeks of Capsaicinoid Supplementation on Body Composition, Appetite, and Self-reported Caloric Intake in Overweight Individuals.”

Harvard Medical School: “Can Everyday Spices Make You Healthier?”

Journal of Oleo Science: “Effect of Oral Paprika Xanthophyll Intake on Abdominal Fat in Healthy Overweight Humans: A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study.”

Journal of Oleo Science: “Effects of Dietary Paprika Xanthophylls on Ultraviolet Light-Induced Skin Damage: A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study.”

Molecules: “Capsaicin: Current Understanding of Its Mechanisms and Therapy of Pain and Other Pre-Clinical and Clinical Uses.”

Molecules: “Capsaicin: From Plants to a Cancer-Suppressing Agent.”

Progress in Drug Research: “Capsaicin as an Anti-Obesity Drug.”

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