Paprika is a spice that is used in various cuisines around the world. It is made of a combination of dried peppers from the Capsicum annum family, which include both sweet and hot peppers. Depending on its type, paprika has a mild and sweet to spicy to smoked taste. It is high in vitamin E, which protects the body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals. Meanwhile, its vitamin A content helps protect vision, boosts the immune system, and supports organ health (1).
Several nutrients that may boost eye health are preset in paprika. These include vitamin E, beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin (2). Studies revealed that lutein and zeaxanthin, which act as antioxidants, may prevent damage to our eyes (3). They may help lower our risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (4).
Paprika may also help us deal with our cholesterol levels. A study revealed that the carotenoids in this spice may help decrease levels of total and LDL cholesterol, which are associated with an increased risk of heart disease (5). Furthermore, its beneficial compounds such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium also help in purifying blood and keeping the heart healthy. Plus, its vitamin C act as an antioxidant that provides protection against cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes (6).
Besides this, paprika may also help us with our digestive health. A tablespoon of it contains two grams of fiber, part of the recommended 25 grams a day (7). Fiber is good for digestion. It keeps our digestive tract working smoothly by keeping our bowel movements soft and regular. A diet high in fiber has may help in preventing colon cancer. Soluble fiber can be used for the treatment of diarrhea as well as constipation (8).
What’s more? The capsaicin in paprika also aids in digestion by assisting in increasing gastric acid secretion that is vital for the breaking down of foods. It has been linked to lowering our risk of ulcers and reducing gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms (7).
Furthermore, capsaicin has antioxidant properties, can help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, improve immunity, and even alleviate gas (9).
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