Christopher Columbus once referred to papaya as the “fruit of the angels” because of its many health benefits. The fruit of the Carica papaya plant, papaya is a delicious, fragrant yellow fruit that can be eaten in its raw form or blended into a smoothie. Read this article to find out the health benefits of papaya and why you need to incorporate it into your diet.
Interesting Facts About Papaya
Papaya originated in Southern Mexico and Central America, but is now grown in many parts of the world. This fruit is pear-shaped and can be up to 20 inches long. The skin of the papaya is green when not ripe, and orange when ripe. The flesh is yellow, red, or orange. Papaya is a natural source of many vitamins and minerals that are essential to the body, including but not limited to:
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin B
These nutrients are known for their ability to protect against colon cancer, while helping to enhance cardiovascular health. In addition, papaya contains papain, a digestive enzyme used to treat sports injuries, allergies, and other causes of trauma. One small papaya (152 grams) contains:
• Vitamin C: 157% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
• Vitamin A: 33% of the RDI
• Vitamin B9: 14% of the RDI
• Potassium: 11% of the RDI
• Carbohydrates: 15 grams
• Fiber: 3 grams
• Protein: 1 gram
• Calories: 59
• Trace amounts of vitamins B1, B3, B5, E, K, magnesium, and calcium
Health Benefits of Papaya
1. Aids in weight loss
Those who are looking to lose weight will enjoy adding some delicious papaya to their diet. They’re very low in calories, and the fiber content leaves you feeling full while also helping to regulate bowel movements.
2. Boosts the immune system
Your immune system is vital in helping you prevent or recover quickly from various infections. A single papaya can contain up to 200% of your daily vitamin C requirement, which is vital for boosting immunity.
3. Lowers the risk of cancer
Research suggests that lycopene in papayas can reduce cancer risk. Papayas may lower your risk of breast, pancreatic, and various other cancers.
4. Increases heart health
Papayas boast three very powerful antioxidants, including Vitamin C, A, and E, which help to prevent diabetic heart diseases and atherosclerosis. Plus, since they’re a great source of fiber, they also reduce the LDL cholesterol levels throughout the body.
5. Helps prevent arthritis
Due to one of the amazing enzymes found in papayas, chymopapain, as well as the various anti-inflammatory properties, papayas can help guard against rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
6. Improves digestion
Papaya contains an enzyme known as papain that can make protein easier to digest. It also contains fiber, which helps improve digestive health. This fruit helps ease constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and bloating.
7. Protects against skin damage
Besides keeping your body healthy, papayas can also help make your skin look more youthful. It is believed that excessive free radical activity is responsible for wrinkling, sagging, and skin damage that occurs with age. The lycopene and Vitamin C in papaya help protect your skin and may reduce these signs of aging.
How Should Papaya Be Served?
Now that we’ve talked about the many amazing health benefits of papaya, let’s review a few great ways to serve it:
• Cut it up and soak in lemon juice and honey.
• Blend yogurt, papayas, and other fruits as a smoothie.
• Add papaya to a homemade fruit salad.
• Enjoy it on its own for a fresh start to your day.
Papayas, grown in the tropics, are more than delicious; they’re great for you — offering many amazing health benefits when added to your diet! In the past, they were considered an exotic fruit, but nowadays, they’re popular and readily available in almost all regions.