Paprika is one type of fruit that is very often used as an ingredient in cooking because the flesh is thick, crunchy and has a unique taste. As a member of the chili family, paprika is one of the largest in size and thick in flesh. Even so, paprika is not spicy, only around 10-100 on the scoville scale (a scale that measures the level of spiciness) while the spicy level of cayenne pepper is around 50,000-100,000. Peppers originate from Mexico and have now spread all over the world. Peppers can be grown optimally in the lowlands with temperatures around 21-29 degrees Celsius. Paprika is a plant that is quite sensitive to extreme temperature changes and sensitive to humidity that is too high.
Paprika is one of the plants classified as nightshade (Solanaceae), the same as potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant. Initially, peppers were only green, but as genetics progressed, the color of the peppers varied from red, yellow, orange and others. Each color has a slightly different nutritional content, for example red peppers contain more vitamin A than peppers of other colors.
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Pepper plant anatomy
As a close relative to chili, paprika plants have a physical shape that is very similar to chilies. The difference is, the paprika plant is slightly taller than the chili plant with a height of about 90cm-1m. Paprika does not have as many branches as chili plants and the leaves are wide. The peppers are quite large (up to 450g per fruit) supported by the larger stems of the peppers to prevent the fruit from falling. However, support is still needed to keep the plant from collapsing due to the weight of the peppers.
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Benefits of Peppers
This fruit that has a variety of colors also has many benefits and is good for your body’s health. What are the functions of bell peppers?
- Natural antioxidant
Peppers can function as antioxidants, with high levels of vitamin C, carotenoids, beta carotene and other important substances, paprika can protect your body from toxic substances and can even keep you from cancer.
- Suitable for diet
Paprika is one of the fruits with the lowest calorie level (containing 45 kcal) but has a complete vitamin content and fulfills your daily vitamin needs. Did you know that not all fruits contain only a few calories and are suitable for your daily diet? Bananas for example contain 89 calories, even avocados contain 160 calories and can actually increase your weight. Consumption of paprika in a diet program can help you lose weight effectively without sacrificing essential nutrients for the body.
Capsaicin is a substance in the chili family that makes chili peppers spicy, capsaicin can function as a cholesterol-lowering, natural anti-inflammatory drug, and reduce diabetes. Capsaicin levels that are owned by peppers that are not too much are very effective for lowering cholesterol, inflammation and diabetes without you having to experience digestive disorders such as stomach pain due to too much capsaicin (too spicy).
- Ideal intake of vitamins and minerals
Paprika contains many vitamins and minerals that are useful for the body, such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamin B6. The minerals contained in peppers include magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus and many more.
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- Eye health
The high content of vitamin A in bell peppers can keep your eyes healthy like apples or carrots.
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The productive age of paprika plants only lasts for approximately 2 years, after that the fruit produced will not be optimal in terms of quality and quantity, the plants need to be rotated by new plants. In large farms, this becomes a problem, crops that are no longer productive have to be discarded and actually cause disposal costs. To solve this problem, researchers have found several functions of paprika leaves. What are the functions of paprika leaves that you can use?
Pepper leaves contain phytochemicals and phenolic acids. Both substances have the ability to enhance anti-oxidant mechanisms. Phenolic acid processes enzymes, stimulates the immune system, and reduces blood pressure. Its antioxidant activity reduces the chances of developing cancer, cataracts, cardiovascular disease, and macular degeneration. Capsaicin, the substance that produces the spicy taste in the entire chili plant family, can reduce the chance of dying from cancer and can stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin, which is useful for fighting diabetes.
Research has shown that paprika leaves can reduce LDL (low density lipoprotein) levels. Pepper leaves can also reduce the likelihood of chronic disease, control bacterial contamination, and protect the stomach from H.Pylori bacteria. Currently, there is no way to apply it directly to paprika leaves, but paprika leaves can be consumed as food if you want to use paprika leaves for health.
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It turns out that paprika leaves have been used as food ingredients since ancient times, generally by the Japanese, Filipinos, Koreans and Italians. In the Philippines, paprika leaves are known as dahon ng sili and are used to cook tinola. In Korea, paprika leaves are commonly used to complement kimchi. In Japan, paprika leaves are cooked to make tsukudani. Bell peppers have a slightly astringent taste and many people say that they taste a bit like spinach. Pepper leaves are used to naturally add a spicy flavor to dishes. In addition, paprika leaves are also often used to complement soups as a substitute for spinach. In Italy, paprika leaves are commonly used to make pesto, crostini and others.
Keep in mind that unprocessed paprika leaves contain a small amount of poison that can cause problems in your digestive system and cause stomach pain which is quite annoying, headaches can also occur if you consume paprika leaves that are not processed properly. Therefore, paprika leaves must be processed properly to remove these toxins.
How to Get Paprika Leaves
Currently, no one is selling paprika leaves for consumption, as is the case in supermarkets, or even in traditional markets. If you want to get paprika leaves, you can simply grow them yourself in pots or in your home garden because peppers do not require a large space. You can get paprika seeds online or directly from bell peppers sold in supermarkets or traditional markets.
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