Health Benefits Of Paprika

What is paprika?

Paprika is a spice that is normally made from dried and ground-up peppers of the species Capsicum annuum. Paprika has a hot, smokey and sweet flavour profile, but the intensity of each flavour depends on the variety of paprika. Spanish paprika and smoked paprika are smokier in flavour. Hot paprika is labelled as such as it is hotter than other paprika, while Hungarian paprika is sweeter than most varieties. Cayenne pepper is from the same species of paprika but is hotter than your average paprika and is derived from a specific type of Capsicum annuum plant than paprika is.

Paprika is a popular ingredient around the world, with the pepper being a staple in Indian, Spanish and Mexican cuisine (among many others - there are too many to list!). While it is most commonly sold as paprika powder in most supermarkets, paprika seeds and whole paprika peppers (fresh and dried) are also available. Paprika has also been used to dye clothing, especially clothing made from natural fibres like cotton and linen, due to the prominent red pigments in the spice. Paprika has also been used as a temporary hair dye to enhance the red tones in the hair strands.

Health benefits of paprika

While paprika adds great flavour to a meal, there are also plenty of health benefits that can be gained by including paprika in a healthy and balanced diet. Paprika contains a lot of different beneficial properties called antioxidants. Antioxidants can prevent inflammation by stopping the production of free radicals, which damage your body by triggering the inflammatory response. Gaining antioxidants from your diet could help reduce the amount of oxidative stress, which is also caused by too many free radicals in your body. Paprika contains several different antioxidants that are good for the body as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

Capsaicin, the part of paprika that gives a burning sensation in high amounts, may have some health benefits as it has mild antioxidant properties. In small amounts, it can provide pain relief, but studies have also suggested that it could change the bacterial population of your gut to reduce inflammation.1 While this is promising, further studies are needed to confirm this idea.

Carotenoids are what give plants their bright, distinctive colours. Zeaxanthin and lutein are carotenoids that both provide colour to peppers: zeaxanthin provides red colour to paprika while lutein is green. Studies have suggested that carotenoids help lower the amount of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL), which may improve your heart health. Cholesterol is important as too much LDL has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and strokes.

Paprika is also rich in beta-carotene, which is an orange-red pigment that has been linked to improved eye health due to its antioxidant properties. Beta carotene is a precursor to Vitamin A, so the health benefits of both do overlap.

Nutritional facts

The strong colour and flavour of paprika means that there are plenty of nutrients in the pepper. The USDA provides the following nutritional information for 100g of paprika:2

Total lipid (fat)12.9g
Fiber, total dietary34.9g
Vitamin C 0.9mg
Pantothenic acid2.51mg
Vitamin B 62.14mg
Choline, total51.5mg
Vitamin B 120µg
Vitamin A2460µg
Carotene, beta26200µg
Carotene, alpha595µg
Cryptoxanthin, beta6190µg
Lutein + zeaxanthin18900µg
Vitamin E29.1mg
Vitamin D0µg
Vitamin K80.3µg
Fatty acids, total saturated2.14g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated1.7g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated7.77g

The majority of health benefits from eating paprika comes from the nutrients that are in the pepper, which are retained under the right crushing and drying conditions when making paprika powder. Paprika is rich in Vitamin E, carotenoids, iron and calcium. This combination of nutrients can help create healthy blood cells, stave off anaemia, fight infections and maintain healthy eyes, skin and bones.3 Paprika also has vitamin B6 and iron, which may help prevent hair loss and improve the amount of red blood cells that your body produces. However, since daily consumption of paprika will be limited to a couple of grams, these benefits are limited. While you can buy herbal supplements with paprika in them, there is little evidence that they provide any benefit when taken, and regulations on herbal supplements are not as strict as paprika sold as a spice.

Side effects and other concerns

While accidentally adding too much paprika to your recipe may overpower the dish with a hot, smokey and bitter flavour, eating too much paprika may make you feel unwell. Capsaicin can cause gastrointestinal distress, even when excreted, as the undigested capsaicin can irritate the bowels. If you have added too much to your dish, it can be mitigated by adding starchy foods like potatoes or natural sweeteners like sugar or honey. This will increase the number of portions, but the paprika flavour will be less intense. Capsaicin can also irritate an open wound, which is one of the reasons why it is important to cover the wound when preparing food.

Too much paprika will turn your poop red as it contains a lot of red pigment.4 While there is no detriment, there is also no health benefit to red poop. It can also be mistaken for a more serious condition like inflammatory bowel disease or colorectal cancer. Reducing the amount of paprika in your diet should remove the red colour from your stool. 

While there is no risk of consuming too much Vitamin E, too much Vitamin C will cause stomach pain and diarrhoea. If you’re pregnant, it is important not to take too much vitamin A as that could harm the developing foetus. Too much beta carotenoids can make your body deposit its pigment into your skin, giving it an orange hue. This should reverse when reducing the amount of beta carotenoids you consume. 

Overall, you would have to consume a lot of paprika to be over-consuming these vitamins and minerals, so it is safe to add as much as you like to your meal. You would need to be eating a lot of paprika over a long period of time to see any detrimental effects from paprika alone.

It is also possible to have an allergic reaction to paprika. If you start experiencing itchiness or swelling in your mouth or throat after consuming foods containing paprika, cut paprika out of your diet. You should also cut out cayenne peppers due to their similarity to paprika.


Adding paprika to your dishes is a good way of adding flavour and vitamins to your diet while adding a sweet and smoky flavour. It can also help boost your immune and heart health while improving your cholesterol levels. It has also been linked to improved eye health and reduced hair loss. However, it is important to have it in moderation to prevent any problems in your digestive tract or health problems from taking too many vitamins.


  1. Rosca AE, Iesanu MI, Zahiu CDM, Voiculescu SE, Paslaru AC, Zagrean AM. Capsaicin and Gut Microbiota in Health and Disease. Molecules. 2020 Dec 2;25(23):5681.
  2. FoodData Central [Internet]. [cited 2023 Mar 21]. Available from:
  3. NHS Choices. Vitamin E - Vitamins and minerals [Internet]. NHS. 2019. Available from: 
  4. These Foods Can Cause (or Look Like) Blood in Your Poop [Internet]. LIVESTRONG.COM. [cited 2023 Mar 16]. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

Get our health newsletter

Get daily health and wellness advice from our medical team.
Your privacy is important to us. Any information you provide to this website may be placed by us on our servers. If you do not agree do not provide the information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
Klarity / Managed Self Ltd
Alum House
5 Alum Chine Road
Westbourne Bournemouth BH4 8DT
VAT Number: 362 5758 74
Company Number: 10696687

Phone Number:

 +44 20 3239 9818