La Vera paprika: what are its benefits and uses

La Vera paprika is a product that has multiple uses in gastronomy. We explain more about its possible benefits and how to apply it to your dishes.

Last update: 08 October, 2022

La Vera paprika is one of the culinary ingredients that has crossed borders the most since its origin, becoming the essential base of Asian, Mediterranean and Latin American cuisine. In addition to providing a pleasant flavor and color to a variety of dishes, it is also known for its medicinal properties, based on its antioxidant effect.

But what exactly is Vera paprika? What are its benefits? We will answer it later.

What is paprika?

Paprika is the powdered product obtained after grinding healthy, ripe red pepper, previously dehydrated. The cultivation of the fruit comes from an angiosperm plant of the Solanaceae family and the genus Capsicum. It is also known as paprika.

Its history dates back more than 12,000 years ago, being cultivated by indigenous people in prehistoric times. It is originally from South America and, from here, it was taken by Christopher Columbus to Spain.

It was the Spanish and the Portuguese who labeled it with the name of pepper. The best known in Spain are those of Vera(in Cáceres) and those of Murcia. Once in Europe, culinary customs advanced and transformed the flavor and aroma of their preparations, even replacing the most widely used seasoning at that time, which was black pepper.

The paprika fruit is a berry with a great variety of species, which have a very thin skin, a little thick pulp and many seeds inside. There are 5 most common varieties:

  1. Capsicum chinense.
  2. C. frutescens.
  3. C. pubescens.
  4. C. baccatum.
  5. C. annuum L. The latter has been cultivated since pre-Hispanic times and is currently the one with the greatest expansion.

It is also characterized because the berries have different sizes, shapes, flavors and colors. They range from yellow and green to red and orange.

Depending on the concentration of capsaicin that gives the pepper its heat, they can be sweet, bittersweet or spicy. In addition, they are used for preventive purposes in health and in the contribution of certain nutrients that help improve the recommended intake in the population.

The red pepper is the origin of the paprika, which appears as a ground powder of this vegetable.

How is paprika de la Vera defined?

La Vera paprika is defined as the product obtained from the grinding of totally red fruits, of the varieties of the group of Okaleas (Jaranda, Jariza and Jeromín), and the Bola variety, belonging to the species Capsicum longum L. Y Capsicum annum L.

They are collected ripe, healthy, clean and of the characteristic color of each species, being dried with oak or oak firewood. In addition, they must come from the municipalities corresponding to the natural regions of La Vera, Campo Arañuelo, Valle del Ambroz and Valle del Alagón.


The two varieties that are used, according to the definition, are the Bola and the Ocal, whose characteristics are the following:

  • Ball (Capsicum annum): youIt has a scarce pulp in relation to the weight of the fruit. The seeds fill almost the entire interior and do not contain capsaicin, the molecule responsible for itching.
  • ocal (capsicum longum): It has a greater amount of pulp, as well as capsaicin. In addition, it has a more elongated shape and a maximum intensity in the red color.

How is Vera paprika made?

The process of making this type of dehydrated paprika goes through different stages:

  1. Smoke drying phase. Oak and oak wood will dry the paprika for 10 to 15 days, until it goes from 80% water to 15%. During this phase, the smoke fuses with the flavor of the pepper and the carotenoids that give the intense color are fixed.
  2. grinding phase. At this stage, we proceed to grind and sift the pepper that has been dehydrated. Depending on the separation of the seeds and other parts of the fruit, it will be classified into different categories.
  3. Packed. Once ground, the final product will be packaged, preferably in glass, since it guarantees the preservation of its color and aromas.

Benefits of La Vera paprika

La Vera paprika contains enough nutrients and active components They provide several health benefits. Let’s review what scientific studies say about it.

It is a source of micronutrients

La Vera paprika, as it is a dehydrated product, tends to concentrate on vitamins and minerals. In the case of this fruit, the variety of colors reveal it as a source of carotenoids, some of which are precursors of vitamin A.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 7 grams of this product can provide the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 19.
  • Protein: 1 gram.
  • Fat: 1 gram.
  • carbohydrates: 3.6 grams.
  • Fiber: 2.37 grams.
  • Vitamin A: 19% of the Recommended Daily Value (RDV).
  • Vitamin B6: 9% of the VDR.
  • Vitamin E: 13% of the VDR.
  • Iron: 8% of the DRV.

The most important macronutrient is fiber, which is not metabolized, accounting for more than half of your total carbohydrates. Proteins and fats are very low.

Some micronutrients manage to cover a good proportion of the recommended values. In particular, vitamin A and tocopherol or vitamin E. If 2 daily servings are used, it is evident that intakes will tend to increase. Pyridoxine and iron are in acceptable values.

Provides antioxidants

Other carotenoids in paprika that provide intense color are considered potential antioxidants. They are able to fight the damage caused by reactive molecules, like free radicals. This is the case of capsaicin, zeaxanthin and lutein.

Evidence supports the protective effect of these antioxidants against the development of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, they also act as modulators of the immune response.

Has anti-inflammatory effects

Capsaicin is a compound present in hot peppers. It is believed to bind to receptors on nerve cells to decrease pain and inflammation. It has been shown to decrease the levels of TNF-alpha, a proinflammatory cytokine, in a model in vitro.

On the other hand, several studies show that Topical capsaicin creams help reduce arthritis pain. In other research, capsaicin supplements were found to be able to prevent inflammation and stomach damage. Likewise, in experimental animals, it has also been shown that supplements of this component could have an immunomodulatory effect.

Could regulate metabolic syndrome

Although more research is needed, some animal and human studies show that capsaicin from red bell peppers has the ability to control metabolic syndrome and its complications, such as obesity, altered lipid profile and diabetes.

Another study of women with gestational diabetes who took 5 milligrams of a capsaicin supplement lowered blood sugar levels after meals.

Benefits eye health

Lutein and zeaxanthin are believed to protect the eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) light. These carotenoids filter blue light, which is not stopped by the cornea and lenses.

Some studies report that both carotenes are associated with a lower risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Another trial, conducted on women with high intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin, found a 32% lower chance of developing cataracts.

Associated with lowering cholesterol

So far, some studies indicate that cholesterol levels Okay o HDL can increase with carotenoid intake capsaicin. This type of cholesterol is related to the reduction of cardiovascular diseases.

In experimental animals, this beneficial effect was also found with an intake of red pepper and capsaicin for 2 weeks. However, more extensive research focused on the human population is required to draw convincing conclusions.

The regulation of blood cholesterol depends on many factors. Diet is one of them, although not the only one.

May have anticancer effects

It’s known that oxidative stress activates inflammatory pathways that transform a normal cell into a tumor cell, favoring the proliferation, chemoresistance and survival of these cells. Hence the importance of consuming antioxidants.

Preclinical studies have shown that some carotenoids present in paprika have important antitumor effects, both in vitro What live. Lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, astaxanthin, beta-carotene, and capsaicin have shown good anticancer activity in various tissues.

In these trials, it was found that a large number of women with high levels of carotenoids in their blood had a 25-35% lower chance of developing breast cancer. Of course, more studies are required on the direct effect of red paprika in the prevention or treatment of cancer.

Uses of La Vera paprika

La Vera paprika is used in 2 culinary aspects: direct gastronomy and as a colorant and stabilizer of raw meat products or cured. In both cases, it imparts such a special smoky flavor and aroma, which characterizes the preparations.

In addition, this paprika is capable of stopping the oxidative processes of the polyunsaturated fat that is part of the formulation of meat products, thanks to the presence of antioxidants. An excess of these oxidative phenomena in the meat product generates a loss of nutritional value, sensory quality and shelf life.

As for gastronomy, paprika from La Vera is a versatile spice. It can be incorporated for its sweet, bittersweet or spicy flavor.

Sweet has a smoky touch and can be used as a condiment for meats, potato salad and eggs. The spice is added to stews, such as goulash Hungarian and the soups. It is also used with rice, bean and lentil dishes.

Any meal goes well with this dehydrated paprika that not only enriches in flavor and color, but also provides added value by promoting good health.

How much quantity is recommended?

The value of La Vera paprika is not only its use as a colourful, flavored and smoked spice. It goes beyond the culinary, as it also provides health benefits.

Only 2 tablespoons of Vera paprika per day is enough to cover almost half of the recommended intake of vitamin A, vitamin E, as well as other antioxidants. In this way, the components that, according to science, have an anti-inflammatory effect, improve visual health and blood sugar are also used.

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