Paprika is a spice ground from dried paprika peppers or a variety of red peppers, which may include both hot and bell types. Mild in taste, paprika adds light flavor and color to food dishes, along with beneficial nutrients that contribute to overall good health.
Paprika is packed full of vitamins, with vitamin A coming out on top. The USDA National Nutrient Database reports that a 1-tablespoon serving of paprika contains 3,560 international units of vitamin A, or 71 percent of the recommended daily intake. Vitamin A plays a role in protecting your eyesight and immune function, and it helps your cells communicate with each other. Adding paprika to your foods will significantly contribute to your vitamin A intake.
Paprika also contains the B-vitamin family, with a high concentration of B-6. Though there is only 0.3 milligram of B-6 in a 1-tablespoon serving, it is 14 percent of the RDI. Vitamin E content is noteworthy, with a 1-tablespoon serving containing 2 milligrams or 10 percent of the RDI. Other vitamins include vitamin C at 4.8 milligrams or 8 percent of the RDI and vitamin K at 5.4 micrograms or 7 percent of the RDI.
Fiber is the part of food that is not digestible, and the health benefits of consuming foods high in fiber range from cancer protection to a lower risk of heart disease. The Harvard School of Public Health explains that though the RDI of fiber is more than 20 grams per day, the average American consumes only 15 grams. Adding paprika to your diet will help prevent you from being part of the "average" statistic. A 1-tablespoon serving contains 2.4 grams of fiber, or roughly 10 percent of the RDI.
Minerals work alongside vitamins to maintain your body's overall health. Paprika contains 10 different minerals, with iron being the most predominant. A 1-tablespoon serving of paprika contains 1.6 milligrams of iron, or 9 percent of the RDI. Other minerals in paprika include potassium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, zinc, copper, calcium and a trace of sodium and selenium. Even though paprika's mineral content is low, adding it to foods will put you closer to achieving your mineral RDI.
The National Institutes of Health reports that every single cell in your body contains protein, which is needed for building and repairing of cells, as well as growth and development. One tablespoon of paprika contains 1 gram of protein, or 2 percent of the RDI. It may not seem like much, but every bit contributes to your daily intake.
Paprika is commonly used to add a dash of color to salads, soups or deviled eggs. If you need to cut your sodium intake, paprika adds a subtle hint of flavor and makes a good salt substitute. The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension recommends paprika to flavor meats, including beef, lamb and fish. Add paprika to your food dishes right before serving, as cooked paprika can turn slightly bitter. Experiment with the spice in your cooking to see what works best for you.
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