Many herbs, spices and seasonings we use for cooking are a good way to add flavor to food while making meals tastier and more appealing to our taste buds. However, in terms of spices, the qualities of this condiment go way beyond making our favorite foods more palatable but also provide some vital nutrients important in maintaining our general health. One particular spice that possesses a series of health benefits is Paprika. Paprika is a spice that is a popular ingredient in European dishes especially in Hungary. In Hungary this spice is used in the preparation of many European dishes including cheeses, eggs, pastas, meat seasonings and sweet pastries. If you are interested in the health promoting nutrients of spices here is some information regarding the health benefits of Paprika for better eye and general health:
Eye Health Benefits: Due to its bright red color Paprika is in the class of foods called carotenoids, (potent disease fighting plant compounds that give plants and vegetables their red, blue or purple colors). The Carotenoids contained in Paprika are a good source of the vital vision nutrient called Zeaxanthin and also Vitamin A. these are good sources of nutrition for supporting the health of the macular of the eyes (the part of the eyes responsible for sharp eyesight) and improves vision. For this reason, this carotenoid once consumed on a regular basis is essential in reducing the risks for age related eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts. In animals like dogs and cats their eyes have more rods than cones that help in making an animal’s night vision much sharper at night for hunting prey. However, in the case of humans we possess more cones than rods and cones enable us to see images in brighter colors and sharper eyesight. The Zeaxanthin found in Paprika provides powerful antioxidant coverage that supports the health of the cells in the cones of our eyes for better visual acuity, (sharper eyesight), and bright colors.
Better Sleep Health: Paprika consists of ingredients that stimulate the production of the sleep hormone called Melatonin. Melatonin is an essential hormone that induces sleep and regulates and maintains healthy sleep patterns. The ingredients in Paprika also have a beneficial effect in the central nervous system that helps to calm the nerves.
Better Digestion: It increases the production of 2 essential compounds that are vital in helping our digestive system to function more efficiently. These 2 compounds are called gastric acid and saliva that work together to assist in the breakdown of food in the digestive tract for proper absorption and nutrient enhancement.
Lowers Blood Pressure Levels: Paprika contains a compound called Capsaicin that research has shown improves circulation to the cardiovascular system. This compound is also beneficial to the heart due to the fact that it facilitates easier blood circulation to the cardiovascular system by relaxing the bloods vessels. Regular moderate consumption of Capsaicin has a beneficial effect on blood pressure.
Paprika is a spice with benefits that are not only limited to adding flavor to our food but also possess health promoting qualities that promote better sleep, eye and digestive health. For all of these health benefits and more, make this healthy spice a welcome addition to your favorite dinner meals for better general health.