With a rich history and numerous health benefits, papaya is one of the best fruits you should be eating more. Papaya is fortified with powerful antioxidants that help prevent a number of serious diseases. The fruit is also plentiful in essential nutrients your body needs each day. Papaya contains dietary fiber, copper, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, and thiamin. Adding one medium sized papaya to your daily meal plan may significantly improve your health. Here are some of the best health benefits of papaya to check out.
1. Keeps your immune system healthy
Papaya is one of the best sources of vitamin C – it contains over 200% of your daily requirement. Vitamin C is essential for a strong immune system, a healthy and young skin and a high energy. Vitamin C is also believed to prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancer. Incorporating more vitamin C rich foods like papaya into your meals helps to keep your immune system healthy all year long.
2. Keeps your eyes healthy
Carrot is not the only source of vitamin A. Papaya contains Vitamin A and flavonoids such as zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, lutein and cyptoxanthin, which help to protect the mucus membranes and prevent age-related macular degeneration. If you spend too much time in front of your computer, try drinking carrot and papaya smoothie to keep your eyes healthy.
3. Keeps cancer risk away
Due to its high antioxidant content, papaya may help to reduce your risk of developing cancer. Flavonoids and phytonutrients found in papaya keep free radicals at bay and your cells healthy. Studies show eating papaya regularly may help you prevent colon cancer and reduce prostate cancer risk. Sounds like a good reason to add some papaya to your salad or fruit pie, isn’t it?
4. Keeps your skin healthy and young
No one can avoid aging, but we can avoid premature aging by eating healthy food each day. Papaya has great anti-aging properties. It’s an excellent source of vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta-carotene that fight wrinkles, prevent skin damage and overall keep your skin healthy and young.
5. Good for your digestive system
Papaya is known for its digestive properties too. The fruit supplies papain, an enzyme that keeps your digestion healthy. Add a serving of papaya to your breakfast, snack on it or use it in your evening smoothie to increase your metabolism and improve your digestion.
6. Helps to boost hair growth
Papaya helps to soften the hair, keep the hair’s natural sheen, prevent dandruff and boost hair growth. Have a papaya smoothie for breakfast or lunch or make a papaya hair mask to improve your hair health. Mix 1/2 cup of plain yogurt and 1 skinned papaya, apply it to your hair, and rinse it off after 40-45 minutes. I use this mask twice a week to make my dry hair look more beautiful.
7. Helps to reduce menstrual pain
While papaya is not the best remedy for menstrual cramps, it can ease the pain and make you feel better in a matter of minutes. Papain enzyme found in papaya helps to promote regular flow of menstruation and relieve cramps. Give it a try! Who knows, maybe it will help you.
8. It’s a good weight loss fruit
Eating papaya won’t make you look slimmer, if you don’t stick to a healthy diet and don’t work out regularly. However, this fruit can help you combat your cravings and feel fuller longer. Papaya is a good addition to any healthy snack, such as yogurt or salad, though a bowl full of ripe papaya makes a diet-friendly snack as well. Papaya is low in sugar and calories – one cup contains around 120 calories and 8.3 gm of sugar.
Papaya is a versatile fruit. You can use it in your salads, fruit pies, fruit-topped cakes, smoothies, juices, salsa, make your own papaya chips, or eat it raw (just be sure it’s ripe!) Papaya has a great number of health benefits. These eight are among the best ones. What’s your favorite way to eat papaya? How often do you eat this fruit?
Photo Credits: JENNIFER HOUSTON