Spices are the secret to enhancing the taste of any recipe. Be it veggies or meats; everything benefits from adding spices. Spices like cumin powder, fenugreek powder, and black pepper add different flavours to your dish. To ensure that your dishes taste good and look good, you will need spices like chilli powder, cayenne pepper, and paprika in your spices aisle. Many people believe that chilli powder and paprika are the same spice. These spices add heat to your dish but contain vastly varying spiciness. They lie at different points on the Scoville scale and provide different flavours.
Paprika is a wonder spice and does more than make your dishes visually appealing and palatable. Its relatively mild flavour makes it easy to include in a range of foods, and the brick-red hue can make your meals aesthetically pleasing. In addition, paprika has dozens of health benefits for the human body. We will be discussing those benefits in detail below.
Nutritional Facts of Paprika
As per the USDA data, every 100 g of paprika contains the following nutrients.
- Calories: 282 Kcal
- Carbohydrate 54 g
- Protein: 14.1 g
- Total lipid: 12.9 g
- Fibre: 34.9 g
- Calcium: 229 mg
- Iron: 21.1 mg
- Sodium: 68 mg
- Magnesium: 178 mg
- Potassium: 2280 mg
- Phosphorus: 314 mg
The above data, according to USDA, clearly reveals the amounts of crucial nutrients present in paprika. Therefore, it is clear that paprika is undoubtedly beneficial to your health. Consequently, you can regard paprika as a healthy spice that provides your body with taste and good health.
Health Benefits of Paprika
Mild spice in your spice aisle, paprika holds incredible health benefits if used accordingly. Here are some health benefits of paprika.
Rich in vitamins
Paprika is a powerhouse of vitamins. If you check the USDA reports, you will find that every 100 g serving of paprika contains the following vitamins:
- Vitamin C: 0.9 mg
- Vitamin B1: 0.33 mg
- Vitamin B2: 1.23 mg
- Vitamin B3: 10.1 mg
- Vitamin B5: 2.51 mg
- Vitamin B6: 2.14 mg
- Vitamin A: 2460 µg
- Vitamin E: 29.1 mg
- Vitamin K: 80.3 µg
The above data reveals that paprika is an essential source of many vitamins. Moreover, these vitamins play a role in various crucial processes of the human body. Thus, eating paprika is good for your overall health.
Aids in the digestion processes
Paprika comes from smoked peppers, and hence, it is a mild spicy spice. Therefore, eating paprika prevents hyperacidity. In addition, as it has a sweet taste, it helps to reduce the chances of getting acid regurgitation. Moreover, a study shows that eating paprika increases your satiety and makes you feel fuller. It is due to the presence of capsaicin in paprika that increases satiety. Therefore, it can lead to eliminating bad eating habits like overeating.
Supports skin health
Acne and skin burns are the most common skin conditions these days. Hyperpigmentation as a result of UV exposure is a commonly addressed skin condition. Paprika offers many essential nutrients that help treat these skin problems quickly. Studies show that medications with xanthophyll and paprika extracts help treat skin problems like skin burns caused due to UV exposure. Paprika is antimicrobial. Therefore, if you are experiencing persistent acne due to microbial issues, you can use a paprika face mask. It will help you clear up the acne issues you are suffering from.
According to studies, paprika is an anti-inflammatory compound. Therefore, eating small amounts of paprika will help you reduce the signs and symptoms of diseases like arthritis. Arthritis is a painful disorder in which you will observe swelling of the joints. Thus, eating an anti-inflammatory substance like paprika is the best you can do to reduce the symptoms and pain of this crippling disease.
Paprika is a spice that is rich in many different nutrients. Paprika contains many nutrient elements like lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and carotene. Plus, it includes a mild proportion of capsaicin as well. Studies claim that all these elements serve as effective anti-cancer compounds and prevent the spread of cancerous cells in the body. They also regulate the tumour conditions of patients. Therefore, swap your regular chilli powder with paprika to see more benefits against cancer.
Suppose you suffer from regular periods of insomnia or other lousy sleeping conditions. Then you might want to add some paprika into your diet to get a good night’s sleep. As mentioned earlier, paprika is a powerhouse of vitamins. Research says that vitamin B in paprika helps produce and release the sleep-inducing hormone called melatonin. Paprika also regulates your happy hormone ‘serotonin’ and fight hormone ‘nor-adrenaline’.
Packed with antioxidants
Antioxidants are helpful in the human body in many ways. Paprika contains generous quantities of antioxidant elements. These antioxidants help manage the risk of cardiac diseases, cancers, and other serious issues.
Loaded with carotene
Paprika contains two types of carotene in it, carotene A and carotene B. These carotenes help maintain the overall health condition of the human body. For example, it helps to regulate cholesterol levels in the blood. Therefore, it prevents the chances of heart attack or stroke. In addition, carotenes are effective in maintaining eye health and skin health.
Reduces hair fall and protects hair colour
Paprika contains 21.1 mg iron in every 100 g serving. This amount of iron helps reduce hair fall and prevent hair breakage. Also, vitamin B6 in paprika supports the production of the essential compound melanin. Melanin imparts colour to your skin and hair. If you add paprika to your diet, you will witness a change in the hair fall pattern you might be experiencing. Adding paprika to hair colour makes the colour last longer and prevents hair fall.
Although it may sound a bit insane, paprika does heal wounds quickly. Don’t judge this spice for its wound healing properties. It might feel a bit terrifying to apply paprika to a bleeding wound. But, surprisingly, it works wonders in stopping the bleeding. Paprika is rich in vitamin E and is also helpful in increasing blood cell production. If you apply a tiny bit of paprika to a bleeding wound, it will start to clot rapidly. Therefore, next time you cut your fingertip in the kitchen or get an injury to any other part of your body. Try to apply a modest amount of paprika to it.
Paprika Prevents spider veins
Paprika is an excellent source of potassium. Potassium is a natural vasodilator element. It helps increase blood circulation by dilating the lumen of blood capillaries and veins. Therefore, paprika shows inherent beneficial properties in eliminating the chances of varicose veins or spider veins.
Looks after your eyes
As is evident from the above data, paprika is rich in vitamins. Vitamin A in paprika is suitable for your eyes and heals them from damage. It is ideal for patients suffering from night blindness or other eye disorders like cataracts. Therefore, paprika in your daily meal can undoubtedly prove effective for your eyes in the long run.
Good for cardiac health
Paprika contains the most quintessential nutrients that the human body requires daily. Iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamins, and minerals are fundamental for maintaining good heart health. If you are suffering from any heart disease, you should make paprika a part of your daily meal plan. Paprika has a good amount of antioxidant properties and is a zero-calorie spice. Therefore, it adds up to your good heart conditions.
Side Effects of Paprika
According to the Scoville scale, paprika is mildly spicy. However, consuming too much paprika will leave you with certain gastric conditions. Eating paprika on an empty stomach will cause severe abdominal irritation and cramps.
Even though it has mild levels of spiciness, you shouldn’t be consuming paprika the first thing in the morning. If you are not acquainted with paprika consumption, you should check for allergic conditions against paprika. In some rare situations, you might develop an allergic reaction to paprika. It can lead to severe allergic symptoms like coughing, sneezing, wheezing, and skin reddening. In some people, paprika can even trigger the signs of asthma.
How to Select Paprika According to Your Preference?
Selecting paprika according to your choice is an easy task to accomplish. If you know the dish you are cooking and the flavours required for the same, you can quickly pick paprika for your food.
With paprika, you can produce three types of flavours- mildly sweet, fiery spicy, and smoked spicy. These tastes or flavours vary according to different varieties of paprika. If you need a mild sweet and spicy flavour, you can switch to a regular paprika spice. It contains delicate flavours that are essentially flavourful.
To get more spiciness or hotness, you can opt for the native Hungarian variety of paprika. It tastes sizzling hot and yummy in various culinary dishes. However, for a smokey, spicy flavour, you will need to purchase a Spanish variety of paprika. It gives the classic smoked flavour to your dishes.
Preparation and Storage of Paprika
You can prepare homemade paprika with any red pepper on hand, including bell peppers. The peppers need to be thoroughly dried to prevent spoiling and ensure they get ground into paprika. Choose a place with lots of sunlight for drying the bell peppers. This drying process can take a month or longer, depending on the humidity. Once the peppers are dried, you need to ground them into paprika. A faster method is to use a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Smoking your peppers will give you smoked paprika.
For several months, you can store paprika in regular air-tight boxes or Ziploc storage bags in your pantry. Like other spices in your spice aisle, paprika will last for months without changing its taste and flavour. However, do not use paprika prepared for over a year. There might be specific changes in the original flavour, which might spoil your dish.
Paprika is a delicate and mild spice that is power-packed with fundamental nutrients. These nutritional elements help maintain and regulate the body’s daily functions effectively. It gives smoky, sweet or spicy flavours to your food depending on the type of paprika you choose. If you’re trying to watch your weight, paprika is a better choice than pre-packaged sauces and calorie-laden seasonings. Therefore, it is a healthy choice to switch to using paprika more often in all your dishes. Paprika soothes your taste buds and increases your food’s antioxidant content. Thus, adding paprika to your diet is the next step toward good health. Sprinkle a bit of paprika over roasted vegetables, scrambled eggs, hummus or other dips and sauces.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is paprika the same as chilli powder?
A. No, they are alike but not the same. In terms of spiciness, chilli powder is much spicier than paprika. On the contrary, paprika, which is of medium spice, tends to have a little sweetness. Paprika comes from a mixture of different varieties of chillies which is why it is different in taste. However, the dark red colour of chilli powder is quite close to that of paprika.
Q. Is paprika made from red bell peppers?
A. Yes, paprika comes from red bell peppers. Paprika is a spice that comes from grounding sweet red bell peppers. Therefore, paprika is more often used in dishes to add a reddish colour and a hint of spice.
Q. Is paprika spicy or not?
A. It depends on the type of paprika you select. For example, paprika made from red bell peppers is usually bright in colour but mild in taste. However, paprika made from spicier varieties of chilli is nearly more spicy than previous ones.
Q. Can I substitute turmeric for paprika?
A. Paprika can be substituted with turmeric in some recipes. But, the flavours will alter severely. If you want a more paprikash flavour, you must add other spices. Turmeric can bring colour to the recipe, but for a mildly spicy flavour with a mix of a bit of sweetness, you’ll need other ingredients from your spice aisle.
Q. Are Deggi Mirch and paprika the same?
A. Deggi mirch has a more robust and assertive flavour than paprika. Paprika enhances the colour and hotness of the dish. Paprika is associated with providing a smoky flavour to the foods. Deggi mirch, on the other hand, adds colour and a spicy taste to the recipe. Thus, they are not the same.
Q. What is the purpose of paprika?
A. Paprika is a flavouring and colouring agent in culinary recipes. Unlike other chilli powders, paprika adds an extra-edge flavour to the recipe. For example, it helps bring out a smoky flavour in meat recipes. Plus, paprika is mildly spicy and a bit sweet. Thus, providing your taste buds with an alluring taste.
Q. Is paprika and cayenne pepper the same thing?
A. Cayenne pepper is made from Capsicum annum, whereas paprika comes from red bell peppers. Apart from different sources, these two spices have different tastes as well. Cayenne pepper is highly spicy. On the other hand, paprika is mildly spicy and sweet to taste. So although you can use cayenne pepper as a substitute for paprika, the flavours will be different. Also, you need to use a much smaller amount of cayenne pepper.
Q. How do you use paprika in cooking?
A. Paprika can be used as a topping to spread over the dishes. You can apply it over the cooked eggs or other meat dishes. Paprika adds a spicy and sweet taste to marinades and sauces. You can also cook chicken and stew with paprika. It is always better to add paprika in hot oil to get more enhanced flavours.
Q. Can you substitute paprika for chilli powder?
A. Yes, you can substitute paprika for chilli powder. But, you will have to increase the ratio of the spice. You need to double the amount of paprika every time you add it instead of chilli powder. So, if you need 1 tsp of chilli powder in a recipe, you must add 2 tsp of paprika to get the same spice. Also, you will need to add a bit of cayenne pepper and cumin powder to it to upgrade the flavours.
Q. What is a substitute for paprika on deviled eggs?
A. If you don’t have paprika to add to deviled eggs, you can add other spices. Chilli powder, garlic powder, and pepper are some alternatives to bring out the same spicy flavour as paprika. Moreover, most recipes can use chilli powder in equal parts to paprika. Hot sauce and chilli sauces offer a similar smokey, sweet, and slight heat as paprika to deviled eggs.