The origin of paprika
Paprika originates from South America, from where in the 15th century transferred to the soil of Spain and from there throughout Europe, Africa and Asia.
Basic characteristics of paprika
Paprika is a green vegetable with fruit, which can be different colors, sizes and shapes. The color of today's varieties of paprika can be red, yellow, green, purple, orange and even new varieties in brown and black. In shape can be oblong, it can remind to tomato, round, kidneys, and according to variety can be small and large varieties. Depending on the spiciness can be classified into mild pepper flavor, medium spicy and very hot (extra chilli) pepper.
Nowadays, across the world grows about 50 different varieties of peppers.
Nutritional composition of paprika
What stands paprika out from the rest of vegetables is the high content of vitamin C, which has four times more than in lemons and oranges, which are valid for the rich sources of vitamin C.
From other vitamins in paprika have been found: beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin E and B complex vitamins (folic acid, B2, B6, pantotenic acid). Also paprika is a good source of vitamin K.
Mineral stake in paprika belongs to the most potassium; there are also present iron, molybdenum, manganese, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.
A large proportion of the total amount of paprika makes water (89%); followed by cellulose, hemicelluloses, pectin, bitter substances, and essential oils. Depending on the present of essential oils will depend on the taste of paprika (mild variety - sour varieties).
In the paprika’s seeds is located alkaloid - capsaicin, which gives pungency to paprika but it is also the bearer of healing properties of pepper.
Red or green paprika?
Definitely red, because it is proven to contain two times more minerals instead green peppers.
Health benefits of paprika
1. Capsaicin is the substance that gives peppers hot taste but it also have extraordinary healing properties on the body.
• In fact, the capsaicin is an excellent antiseptic, stimulates appetite, salivation and digestion of food; also contributes to an increased secretion of gastric juices and intestinal mucous membrane irritation; reduces the process of decomposition and putrefaction of food in the intestine thereby preventing the occurrence of bacterial intestinal infections.
• Research has found that capsaicin from pepper has medicinal properties on the heart, as well as improving overall circulation, which helps with the state of venous trails, reduced peripheral circulation in diabetes, gout, rheumatism. Alkaloid capsaicin is used in the preparation of medicinal preparations to be applied externally in the form of a cream with the state of rheumatism, arthritis, osteopathy, sciatica, gout, lumbago and all conditions where heat is needed and enhanced circulation, and they are most often the bones and muscles.
• Another extraordinarily operation of capsaicin from paprika - a natural analgesic effects that reduces the feeling of pain, because it prevents the transfer of impulses from the periphery (area of pain) to centre in the brain.
2. Another important ingredient that makes paprika medicinal vegetable is - citrine.
• Citrine is a substance which stimulates the permeability of capillaries, stimulates circulation and affects the elasticity of blood capillaries, which is why paprika is recommended for people suffering of atherosclerosis.
• Because of the impact on circulation, citrine has a role in prevention of hair loss and the appearance of baldness because it stimulates circulation through skin of the head.
• Due to its positive effects on blood vessels, citrine is considered an aphrodisiac, which why is often enters into the composition of natural products for potency.
• In addition to functioning of the blood vessels, citrine has a positive effect on the expansion of the bronchi, which removes spasm in state of bronchial asthma, deepens breathing, and facilitates expectoration.
3. The presence of potassium in paprika positively influences blood pressure regulation, regulation of the osmotic and diuresis which is important for people suffering of renal failure.
4. Pectin, cellulose and hemicelluloses are responsible for digestion, accelerate peristalsis and emptying them.
5. Vitamin C which is abundant in paprika boost immune system and protects the body from invading bacteria and viruses.
6. Vitamin A and beta carotene are accountable for the preservation of good vision; for the health of the skin and mucous membranes, which increases immunity and the body defend itself against infection.
7. The presence of vitamin B complex in paprika has positive influence on the health of the nervous system, preventing depressions and neuro muscular disorders.
8. Paprika possesses bactericidal and antiviral activity, which can be used in the treatment of herpes viruses and bacteria that cause intestinal infections.
9. Beta-carotene and lycopene in paprika have anticancer effect and prevent the occurrence of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
The use of paprika in the kitchen
Paprika gladly used in the preparation of dishes, stews, can be used independently as fresh in salads with the addition of garlic, basil and olive oil, grilled, combined with meat and rice or added to sauces and toppings.
It can be used in fresh condition, but also applies in the dry state as milled pepper.
To maintain full concentration of vitamin C in paprika is best to use it in fresh state, or deep-frozen. Subjecting heat treatment leads to loss of vitamin C. It is considered that cutting up paprika, which also applies to carrot, largely loses vitamin C, so it is recommended to use the paprika whole or coarsely cropped.