Many people associate papaya with Asian cuisine, but the papaya is actually native to the Americas. Grown in Hawaii and native to southern Mexico and Central America, this delicious fruit is bursting with taste and health benefits. It’s no wonder Christopher Columbus once called this delectable morsel the “fruit of the angels.” They’re incredibly healthy and boast a host of health benefits. The papaya also goes by the name “pawpaw” or “papaw”. Papaya is a sweet-tasting fruit that is low in calories. Fully ripe papayas will last for about 5 to 7 days in the fridge. You’ll know that it is ripe because you should be able to press your thumb into the flesh and notice a skin that is turning from green to yellow.
Full of Vitamins and Minerals
Papayas are bursting with vitamins and other nutrients your body needs. A single serving of papaya supplies 144% of the daily recommended value of vitamin C and nearly 35% of the daily value of vitamin A. The papaya also contains folate, potassium, and fiber. If your doctor has suggested adding more B vitamins to your diet, look no further than the papaya. B6 and B1 are essential vitamins because your body needs them for optimal functioning, but they are not produced by your body. Instead, you have to rely on your food
Papayas Help With Digestion
Papayas contain fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C. This is great for your arteries because they help in the prevention of buildup of cholesterol, therefore assisting in preventing heart attacks and hypertension. Because of the fiber, a serving of papaya helps to create a feeling of fullness, which helps in weight loss and weight control. Papayas are also known to help keep your bowel movements regular, which reduces the chances of constipation. One small papaya contains 3 grams of fiber – about 12% of your daily value for a 2,000 calorie diet. Some research has shown that eating some papaya daily will help your overall digestive health thanks to the digestive enzyme called papain. Papain is a proteolytic enzyme extracted from the raw fruit of the papaya plant. Proteolytic enzymes help break proteins down into smaller protein fragments called peptides and amino acids
Papayas Have Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Eating a serving of papaya can help with arthritis. Arthritis can be a truly debilitating disease that can wreak havoc on your quality of life. Research has shown that eating papaya can be good for your bones because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, the vitamin C found in papayas has been shown to help keep some types of arthritis at bay. A recent study has shown a link between low consumption of vitamin C and arthritis. People who did not get enough vitamin C were three times more likely to have arthritis than those who didn’t. Some research recently has also suggested that eating vitamin C rich foods such as papaya may help with protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving two or more joints. A recent research paper found subjects who consumed the lowest amounts of vitamin C-rich foods were more than three times more likely to develop arthritis than those who consumed the highest amounts.
Papayas are a Sweet Treat for Diabetics
Research has shown that diabetics should eat papaya as a sweet treat. The papaya has been called an excellent food option for diabetics because it has very low sugar content. Some studies suggest that non-diabetics can eat papayas to help prevent the disease. We know that Vitamin A is important for vision and the papaya provides about 1/3 of your daily value. Vitamin A helps prevent age-related macular degeneration and other diseases of the eyes. In some parts of India, the flowers of the papaya are sautéed in some oil and eaten to help prevent diabetes. More research is being done on the papaya and its help in preventing diabetes.
Rich in Antioxidants – Can Help Prevent Cancer
Because the papaya contains large quantities of antioxidants, flavonoids, and phytonutrients, research has found a link with the prevention of some cancers. They have been found to prevent cells from undergoing free radical damage. Researchers are studying the link between eating papaya and the reduced risk of prostate and colon cancer. Even among other fruits that demonstrate anti-cancer properties, only the papaya showed anti-cancer activity in breast cancer cells. Papaya may also be a healthy fruit choice for preventing such illnesses as recurrent ear infections, colds, and flu. More research is being conducted on the papaya and how it has an effect on the immune system.
Papayas are an excellent source of the powerful antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin A. Papayas may be very helpful for the prevention of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease because of it. These antioxidants are important with the prevention of oxidation of cholesterol. When cholesterol oxidizes, it can stick to and build up in blood vessel walls which form the dangerous plaque which can cause heart attacks and strokes. One way in which dietary vitamin E and vitamin C may exert this effect is through their suggested association with a compound called paraoxonase, an enzyme that inhibits LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol oxidation.
Papayas can Help in the Regulation of the Menstruation
If you are a woman who suffers regularly from menstrual pain, researchers suggest eating papayas. Servings of papaya have been found to help in the regulation and the easing of the flow during menstrual periods. Papayas contain an enzyme called papain which helps with the regulation. However, if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, avoid eating unripe papaya. Papaya that is unripe contains a latex substance that may cause contractions of the uterus. Fully ripe papaya is not thought to be a problem, but it is not known for sure if papaya is completely safe during pregnancy. More research is being done, so make sure to consult with your doctor.
Try these delicious and healthy Papaya recipes
Dr. Nandi’s Tropical Surprise
A delicious, sweet treat that’s packed with antioxidants, fiber and vitamin C. No guilt here!