That vibrant dusting of chrism red, either in your favourite bolognese or on devils eggs…
Paprika is ground from air dry chilli pepper or capsicum annuum, this spice ranges from mild to slightly sweet to fiery and punchant adopting the full flavour of peppers it was ground from, for instance, the most common paprika (classic Hungarian) has a sweet taste with mild heat, yet some varieties of Spanish paprika have a smokey, earthy flavour because the peppers were typically dried over wood burning fires.
Therapeutically paprika works wonders on vision and overall eye health, nutritionally a single tablespoon of ground paprika boasts four different carotenoids, which protect from damaging uv rays to age related macular degeneration and cataracts, it also gives the spice it’s impressive red colour. Paprika is also rich in vitamin A which also helps to improve night vision and you really don’t need that much to do so. According to recommendations from the institute of medicine, a mere tablespoon of paprika contains more than 100% of the daily recommended value of vitamin A for both men and women.
When it comes to heart health, a 2011 study found that cooking with a blend of antioxidant spices like paprika, turmeric and cinnamon, reduces the stress that high fat foods put on the heart. Paprika’s high antioxidant value also credited by the British journal of nutrition for it’s ability to significantly lower LDL or (bad cholesterol) while increasing LDL which is (good cholesterol).
In culinary terms, paprika is used in a wide variety of cuisine’s, used both to season and garnish soups and goulash with it bright red colour. Paprika also enriches the flavour of sweet and white potatoes, carrots and squash especially when mixed with olive oil and roasted. A sprinkle of paprika on a bowl of humous dip will add a slightly fiery flavour to a healthy snack. Keep in mind that in order to reap the full carotenoid benefits of paprika, the spice should be cooked with a source of healthy fat, like olive oil, the mild flavour of the spice will also gradually intensify when a pinch is heated in oil and combined with other spices like garlic and cayenne or used as a meat, poultry or fish rub.
Paprika has anti inflammatory properties and it’s particularly beneficial for people suffering from autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. It is helpful in relieving swelling caused by arthritis as well as other aches and pains.
So if you haven’t already then try incorporating paprika in your diet regularly.