The Health Benefits of Papaya
This sweet tropical fruit is laden with Vitamin A, Vitamin B-1, Vitamin B-2, Vitamin B-3, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin B-9, Vitamin C, calcium, carotene’s, fibre, fibrin, folate, iron, lycopene, magnesium, pantothenic acid, papain, phosphorous and potassium.
These delicious, nutritious “fruits of angels” are certainly heaven-blessed, with innumerable health benefits including but not limited to;
Anti-cancer properties Vitamin A and C are mighty anti-oxidants, which combat the oxidative stress caused by cell-damaging free radicals, and ward off various cancers including that of the cervix, oesophagus, oral cavity, pancreas, rectum and stomach. Papaya juice has been shown to be particularly effective against liver cancer. Carotene’s protect the body from lung and oral cavity cancers. The papaya’s wealth of fibre keeps potential cancer-causing toxins from staying in contact with the colon for too long. Lycopene intake reduces the risk of prostate cancer in men.
Anti-inflammatory abilities Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, beta-carotene and an enzyme called papain are all helpful in reducing inflammation associated with asthma, arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Digestive health Papaya seeds are often used to rid the body of intestinal worms. Papain, an enzyme found in papaya, is a helpful natural digestive. The wealth of fibre in papaya can prevent or ease constipation.
Edema Papaya can help control swelling in various areas of the body, as characterised by edema.
Eye health Vitamin A can prevent blindness and Vitamin C can prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.
Heart health Rich in dietary fibre, eating papaya regularly can actually lower cholesterol. Fibrin, an enzyme, helps prevent blood clots. Vitamin A and Vitamin E prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, meaning it cannot adhere to arterial walls. Lycopene halts LDL, or “bad cholesterol,” from damaging arterial walls. Potassium regulates a healthy heart rate and can lower blood pressure. Magnesium normalises blood pressure.
Immune system health Vitamin A and Vitamin C are both tremendous immune system boosters and can help fight off a wide variety of diseases and infections ranging from the common cold to the flu to ear infections. Papaya has also been shown helpful in reducing fever.
Kidney disease Papaya seed extract can help the kidneys to recover from various disorders.
Pregnancy Papaya has been reported to relieve morning sickness and nausea.
Stress relief Vitamin B-6 produces GABA, a vitally important amino acid, which serves as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and can facilitate a general feeling of well-being.
Women’s health Eating papaya can help regulate menstrual flow and relieve cramps.
Anti-oxidant properties Vitamin A and Vitamin C have tremendous anti-oxidant abilities that prevent premature ageing including fine lines and wrinkles.
Skin & Hair Papaya is popularly known to be a great homemade skin cream that can unclog pores thereby treating acne, curing infections and healing wounds at a faster rate. It also serves as a natural exfoliate, which sloughs off dead, dry cells and leaves the skin radiant and glowing. Papaya can also fight dandruff.
Papaya contains an enzyme called papain, which improves protein digestion and absorption, which is key to boosting metabolism and burning.
Energy Papaya maintains a healthy level of blood glucose and provides consistent energy throughout the day.
Nutritional intake Papaya is fat-free and quite low in calories with only about 60 per one cup serving. High in fibre, eating papayas will keep your body flushed out regularly, which typically results in a more consistent weight management
Eating the sweet, buttery papaya flesh fresh with a spoon is pure delight. However, if you want to get a little creative in the kitchen consider the following unique culinary concoction’s.
Dried Papaya seeds make a great alternative to black pepper and health benefits
Pureed it makes a fantastic tenderiser on tough proteins it breaks down tough fibres
A very popular Thai dish is Som Tam, or Green Papaya Salad. This spicy sweet salad combines 3 cups of shredded green papaya, 1 cup of bean sprouts for added crunch, 3 minced green scallions, a large handful of shredded Thai basil and a ½ cup of chopped fresh cilantro.
For the dressing, merely combine 2 tablespoons of dried shrimp, 1 sliced Thai chili pepper, 1.5 tablespoons of palm sugar, 4 tablespoons of fresh lime juice, 1 minced garlic clove and 3 tablespoons of fish sauce. Toss the salad in the mixture until fully coated and top with a ½ cup of minced peanuts.
Interesting fact about Papayas: The ancient Mayans used to revere the Papaya Tree and affectionately call it the “Tree of Life.”