News & tips on health, fitness and nutrition

Thursday, September 25, 2008


PAPRIKA - A bold red that is slightly lighter and brighter than chili powder, paprika (Capsicum annuum species) is a ground pepper harvested from an annual shrub of the nightshade family. The flavor can range from sweet to bitter to red hot. Although the spice is a favorite of Eastern Europeans and the Balkans, as it is a central ingredient in goulash, it originated in the Western Hemisphere. Columbus brought the spice to Spain where it spread to Turkey and then "Turkish pepper", as it became known, was introduced in Hungary in 1604.

Paprika peppers contain seven times as much Vitamin C as oranges and taking capsicum is thought to improve the immune system's defenses against infection and cancer. In 1937 the Hungarian scientist Dr. Szent Gyorgyi won a Nobel Prize for his work with paprika pepper pods and Vitamin C research.

Capsaicin in capsicum
The fruit of most species of Capsicum contains capsaicin (methyl vanillyl nonenamide), a lipophilic chemical that can produce a strong burning sensation in the mouth of the unaccustomed eater.

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