Papaya is a delicious tropical fruit that’s full of important nutrients which can help you battle illness but also present anti-inflammatory properties. I absolutely love it in my breakfast smoothie bowls, and it’s one of my favorite fruits – definitely at the top of the list, somewhere near bananas. If you’ve been wondering which are the health benefits of papaya, you should know there are plenty of them. No need to shy away from this wonderful fruit if you enjoy its taste.
As it’s a flavorful fruit, papaya can be easily worked into desserts and salads, but it also pairs well with meat! However, the point of this article is not about discussing papaya recipes but to highlight some of the most important health benefits it provides.
Health Benefits Of Papaya You Should Know
Even Christopher Columbus loved papaya and he called it ‘fruit of the angels’. I’m not sure if he knew what important benefits adding papaya to your diet could offer but at least, he was eating it.
Papaya contains an enzyme called papain that can break down the protein in muscle meat so it doesn’t just help your digestion, it’s a well-known meat tenderizer. In fact, it’s been used to ensure even tough meats will cook to perfect tenderness for thousands of years.
You’ll probably be amazed to find out that one small papaya can give you a third of the daily recommended dose of Vitamin A and a whopping 157% of the daily recommended dose of vitamin C. Who needs oranges right? It also has lower amounts of folate and potassium and high in antioxidants, particularly lycopene.
It Protects You Against Free Radicals
Our bodies constantly produce free radicals – this is completely normal. However, having too many of them means you are subjected to oxidative stress which causes premature aging and disease.
Papayas are rich in antioxidants, specifically, carotenoids which can reduce oxidative stress in general but more specifically help older individuals and those suffering from illnesses such as liver disease and diabetes.
It Can Help Prevent Cancer
According to researchers, studies revealed consuming the lycopene found in papaya can lower your chances of developing cancer but can also help treat it. However, when it comes to the nutrients contained in a food, they’re not just the sum of its parts.
It looks like papaya has some exclusive properties you won’t find in other fruits. Research has shown papaya to be the only fruit that can fight breast cancer cells.
It Contains Heart-Healthy Antioxidants
What’s more, anti-oxidants don’t just play a role in fighting cancer, they can also help prevent heart disease. The antioxidants found in papaya, specifically, lycopene can lower heart disease risk and improve the beneficial effects of the ‘good’ cholesterol known as HDL.
And has anti-inflammatory effects
Our stressful lifestyles, sedentary jobs, and diets rich in overly-processed foods can lead to chronic inflammation, which is detected based on the values of specific markers. Science has proven that antioxidants found in fruits such as papaya (and vegetables as well) can lower the values of these markers, especially when you include plenty of them in your diet. So if you love papaya, there’s no need to avoid it, although like any fruit it’s best eaten in moderation since they are usually rich in sugar.
It can also improve your digestion
I already mentioned above, papaya contains an enzyme called papain which can help you better digest protein. Interestingly, papaya has been used as a natural remedy for constipation and other digestive issues by people living in the tropics.
Even research studies show the same – according to one, a papaya-based supplement managed to alleviate bloating and constipation for those that took it for 40 days.
As you can see, papaya is an incredibly healthy fruit, with an exceptional nutritional profile that can greatly improve your health when regularly consumed. As a bonus, among the many health benefits of papaya, it can also prevent premature aging of your skin and improve its appearance.
Do you enjoy eating papaya and what are some of your favorite recipes that include the fruit? Let us know in the comments section below and don’t forget to share our post if you liked it and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+!