Papaya: The Tropical Fruit for Staying in Tip-Top Shape

The papaya is one of the fruits that you may not have really heard of, but touts numerous healthy benefits. Especially nowadays, people are taking better care of their health. People are shunning processed and unhealthy foods and are heading to organic and natural produce.

People are starting to eat clean and exercise more. They really are making a conscious effort to change their lifestyles and live better and healthier.

Many are becoming more open-minded and are willing to try out different things. Papaya is one of the fruits that Americans are slowly taking notice of.

This  bright orange tropical fruit can look quite exotic and different, but once you get a taste, you won’t be able to stop.

Papaya Particulars

This fruit has green skin on the outside but boasts a bright orange hue inside. It has a soft and buttery texture with a sweet taste. Christopher Columbus even considered it as the “fruit of the angels.”

These are pear-shaped fruits that can grow up to 20 inches long. There are two types of common papayas, the Mexican and the Hawaiian. This fruit is native to the tropics of the Americas It was first cultivated in Mexico.

The ripe fruit of the papaya is usually eaten raw, disregarding the skin and seeds.

Papaya Nutrition

Papayas are very high in vitamin C. How high, you ask? Well, they contain 224% of vitamin C. That’s a lot. Aside from that, the fruit also  has dietary fiber, pantothenic acid, and folate. It has healthy carbohydrates, energy, protein, and total fat.

For other vitamins, papayas also contain vitamin A, pyridoxene, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin E, and vitamin K.

It also has the electrolytes potassium and sodium.

And for the mineral content, papayas possess magnesium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc.

Positive Effects of Papayas

With all those vitamin, minerals, and other nutrients in papaya, it’s no wonder that the fruit really has a lot to offer.

Strengthens the Immune System

A Japanese research team shows that the antioxidants in papayas greatly boost the body’s immune system.

Vitamin C is also a very vital nutrient that can do wonders to the immune system. And since the papaya contains more than 200% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C, your immune system has nothing to worry about.

A stronger immune system means you are less likely to get colds, cough, and the flu. This also means no harmful free radicals can get in your system, and your risk of getting debilitating diseases is lessened.

Relieves Stress

Again, vitamin C plays a big part. Research shows that this particular vitamin effectively maintains the flow of stress hormones. Folic acid and vitamin B6 are also effective nutrients in battling away anxiety and stress. They both keep the level of homocysteine in the blood under control.

Additionally, folic acid also helps the body produce anti-stress hormones. This nutrient also keeps depression and those mood swings in check.

So if you feel all stressed out and anxious, grab a slice of papaya and keep calm, cool, and collected.

Boosts Skin Health

Papayas can do plenty for your skin. They contain papain, which kills dead skin cells and purifies the skin. The fruit also contains healing enzymes that help treat sunburns and irritated skin. It’s also very effective in treating skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema.

The antioxidants in papayas also make sure to protect your skin from harmful free radicals and the harmful UV rays of the sun. This leads to the prevention of wrinkles, fine lines, crow’s feet, laugh lines, age spots, and other signs of aging.

Betters Eye Health

The papaya is a good source of beta-carotene. This nutrient is very effective in  reducing the risk and effects of age-related macular degeneration. This is a degenerative eye disease where the ocular cells degenerate. This then results in blurred vision and can also lead to blindness.

The other compounds found in papayas also work together in order to protect the mucus membranes and keep them healthy. This prevents any kind of damage to these membranes.

Improves Digestive System

The nutrients folate, vitamin E, and vitamin C work together and produce a tonic effect in the stomach and in the intestines. The fiber content in papayas also help increase bowel movements and help ease the passage of stool. This then reduces the effects of constipation.

In addition, papain is a digestive super enzyme. It improves digestion by breaking down proteins and cleansing the digestive tract.

Promotes Healthy Weight Loss

Papayas have a good amount of fiber and are relatively low in calories. These two factors are very helpful for those who are looking to lose some weight.

What the fiber does is it adds bulk to your food and also slows down the emptying of your stomach. This helps you feel fuller longer, making you eat less for the rest of the day.

Adding the papaya to your daily diet will eventually lead to two things: healthy detoxification of the body of toxins and the burning of fat.

Aids Women’s Issues

The papaya can do wonders when it’s that time of the month. It’s been known to help with easing PMS symptoms. These include nausea, morning sickness, and motion sickness.

Also, eating papayas regularly help with painful menstruation. Certain nutrients in this fruit help soothe the uterine walls. This then eases the contraction of the muscle fibers. In effect, this reduces the effect of menstrual cramps and pain.

And finally, papayas, raw papayas specifically, help regulate menstrual cycles. They contain plenty of heat, which helps stimulate the production of estrogen in the body. This will eventually result to regularly occurring periods.

Raw papayas also help increase the flow of blood during menstruation. So if you’re period is delayed a couple of days and you’re starting to feel a bit worried, go ahead and eat some raw papaya. This will help induce your period naturally.

Helps with Diabetes

Papayas are low in sugar, but have plenty of other nutrients that can protect and boost a person’s overall health. Certain studies show that consuming papaya on the regular can slow down the progression of type 2 diabetes.

Papayas are also high in fiber. Consuming high-fiber food will improve insulin levels, blood glucose levels, and lipid levels.

Fights Against Cancer

Papaya extracts have anti-carcinogenic effects against tumor cells. The extract slows down the growth of these tumor cells. The lycopene in papayas help reduce the risk of cancer. The antioxidants it contains are also effective in fighting against those dangerous free radicals that contribute to cancer development and progression.

Papayas are most especially effective against pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer.

Bolsters Heart Health

The vitamins A, C, and E in papayas help prevent heart problems like diabetic heart disease as well as atherosclerosis. Papayas also have pro-carotenoid phytonutrients. These prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the body. When cholesterol is oxidized, it sticks to the blood vessel walls. This then forms plaque, which can lead to  heart attacks and stroke.

Lycopene and other antioxidant present in papayas also improve LDL “good” cholesterol levels.

Kate B. Forsyth is a writer for Be Healthy Today, who specializes in health and nutrition. Her passion is to help people get an overall transformation of health that lasts a lifetime. In her blog posts, she goes beyond research by providing health-concerned citizens doable and simple tricks to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

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