Paprika and cardiovascular health

The health benefits of paprika and the cardiovascular systemThe bell pepper family brings a lot of positive things to the table without a doubt. One of its most recognized members is paprika and it happens to be quite appreciated for the particular taste that it provides to various dishes. Paprika, as with other members of its family, is filled with capsaicin, an extraordinary substance known for its antioxidant properties but also for its incredible benefits to the cardiovascular system in general.

Paprika is comprised of many essential nutrients but it’s most importantly a great source of vitamin C and carotenoids that are very useful for individuals with vitamin A deficiencies. Some studies have demonstrated that a bell pepper’s vitamin C or carotenoid content does increase as it matures. In fact, its antioxidant capacity does seem to proportionately increase as does its vitamin C and carotenoid content.

In December 2009, the British Journal of Nutrition reported a study conducted with animals in order to evaluate paprika’s ability to assist the cardiovascular system. The animals were given capsanthin which is a carotenoid component found in paprika. Overall, the animals displayed higher levels of HDL cholesterol, medically known as the good cholesterol, without negatively affecting the triglycerides or the low density lipoprotein levels.

In 2008, a British study showed that low blood levels of vitamin C, carotenoids or retinol may favour the development of cataracts. The blood samples of over one thousand North Indian individuals were analyzed. The researchers found that participants had very low antioxidant levels in their blood, especially vitamin C levels in comparison with Western populations. They immediately concluded that a link could be made between an antioxidant-depleted population and the emergence of cataracts.

Can paprika have a positive impact on weight and ingested fat foods?

The journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published in its November 2009 issue, a study showing that paprika helped animals lose weight. The animals were given beverages containing paprika for a period of six weeks. It seems like the spice was responsible for activating genes that encourage the production of glycogen. Thanks to paprika, researchers realized that glucose was more efficiently converted into energy and to a greater extent. It was also noted that cholesterol levels were lowered after the six-week trial.

Researchers from Pennsylvania State University reported that adding spices to high-fat foods can somewhat help counter their negative effects. A small group of healthy people aged between 30 and 50 participated in this study. Although paprika wasn’t the only spice used in their studies, it was nevertheless considered to be amongst the likely top eight herbs known for their potent antioxidant properties. As participants were eating their high fat meals with added spices, blood samples were taken from them every 30 minutes during and after the meals. The general results showed a thirteen percent increase as far as antioxidant activity in the blood, while insulin response dropped by 20 percent following the meals.

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