Papayas are usually grown in tropical climates and are known for their sweet taste and color. They are also known as pawpaws or papaws. They are known for their medicinal as well as nutritional values. Papaya is the fruit of the plant, Carica papaya and originates from Central America and Southern Mexico. It has also been used for meat tenderizers for years due to the enzyme it contains called as papain. It is a protein that breaks down muscle in meat. The papayas are usually 20 inches in length and when unripe they are green in color and changes to yellow or orange when ripe. The papaya flesh inside is yellow, red or orange. There are many health benefits of papaya that proves beneficial to the body in many ways.
Papaya Health benefits:
1. Nutritional Value Of Papaya
One small papaya contains- 59 calories, 15 g carbohydrates, 1 g protein, 3 g fiber, 157% RDI vitamin C, 33% RDI vitamin A, 14% RDI Folate or vitamin B9 and 11% RDI potassium. It also contains magnesium, calcium as well as vitamins like B1, B3, B5, E and K in lesser amounts. They also contain carotenoids like lycopenes and other powerful antioxidants. Thus, papayas are rich in nutritional value and can prove highly beneficial to the body.
2. Prevents Asthma
Studies have shown that people that consume beta-carotene rich foods are at a lower risk of developing asthma. Papayas are rich in beta-carotenes and thereby can help prevent the occurrence of asthma. This is one of the health benefits of papaya.
3. Aids In Digestion
Papayas are great in aiding digestion as they have an important enzyme known as papain that helps in breaking down tough proteins. People suffering from digestive problems should consider drinking papaya juice as a healthy option. Papaya enzyme benefits the body by aiding digestion and preventing indigestion and other related problems.
4. Aids Weight Loss
Papayas are great for aiding in weight loss as they aid in digestion and break down food for easy passage through the digestive tract.
5. Anti Cancer Properties
Papayas are rich in lycopenes. Studies have suggested that lycopenes lower the risk of developing cancer as they are able to reduce free radicals in the body that are carcinogenic in nature. A study has shown that fermented papaya preparation reduced the oxidative damage in older people with inflammation and precancerous changes of the stomach. Another study has shown that papayas are effective against pancreatic as well as breast cancer cells. These are some of the important health benefits of papaya.
6. Relieves Toothaches
Papayas are known for their medicinal properties. Studies have shown that massaging fresh papaya roots on to the teeth and gums. This gives relief to people suffering from toothaches. Studies have also shown that the inner bark of the tree also is a good remedy for toothaches. This is one of the benefits of papaya.
7. Manages Diabetes
Papaya helps to maintain the blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels due to the high amount of dietary fibers present in it. According to studies, people that suffer from type-1 diabetes when consume a high fiber diet tend to show lower levels of blood sugar while type-2 diabetics consuming a high fiber diet tend to show improved insulin, lipid as well as blood glucose levels. Thus, papaya fruit benefits diabetics from suffering from complications due to diabetes.
8. Treats Acne
Papayas are a good source of latex that is beneficial for people suffering from acne. Papaya’s flesh when applied externally to the affected skin can help treat acne and clear the complexion of the skin. It also helps in reducing the inflammation caused due to acne. This is one of the health benefits of papaya.
9. Healing Properties
Papayas have healing agents which are the proteolytic enzymes known as chymopapain and papain. Studies have suggested that these enzymes have beneficial effects on burns or affected areas of the skin. This is by promoting healing of the wounds and preventing infection that may occur on burned parts of the skin. The papain enzyme is also effective against ulcers and bedsores. Commercial ointments containing the papain enzyme can be bought from stores and applied on affected areas. This is one of the health benefits of papaya.
10. Beneficial To Hair
Papaya contains Vitamin A that is highly beneficial to the hair. It promotes the sebum production in the scalp that helps moisturize the hair and promotes glossy and shiny hair. They also contain good amounts of Vitamin C that helps in strengthening the hair by promoting collagen formation. This is one of the benefits of papaya.
11. Reduces Risk Of Cardiovascular Diseases
A high sodium diet can increase the risk of high blood pressure and other related issues. Papaya on the other hand is rich in potassium which helps in regulating blood pressure levels as well as the high fiber content and vitamins found in papayas can help in greatly reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. This is one of the main health benefits of papaya.
12. Improves Bone Health
Papayas contain good amounts of vitamin K. Vitamin K helps in building up the bone matrix as well as increasing the absorption of calcium in the body. It also helps in reducing the risk of suffering from bone fractures as it helps in strengthening the bone structures. This is one of the papaya health benefits for the body.
13. Anti Aging Properties
Papaya helps in slowing down the aging process of the skin. This is due to the fact that it has a good source of vitamin C and lycopenes. These powerful antioxidants helps to reduce the free radicals that damage the skin which causes wrinkling and as well as sagging of the skin. Studies have shown that vitamin C and lycopenes help in reducing wrinkles in older women. This is one of the health benefits of papaya.
14. Natural Sunscreen
Papayas are a good source of lycopenes that are powerful antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that lycopene supplements help in reducing inflammation or redness caused due to exposure to sunlight. Thus, they help to reduce the damage caused due to the harmful ultra violet rays of the sun.
15. Remedy For Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, gas and constipation. Papaya can help get rid of this condition due to the high fiber content and the proteolytic enzymes that it contains. It can act as a natural laxative and thereby prevents constipation and colon damage. This is one of the health benefits of papaya. Regulates menstruation: Papaya is considered to release heat in the body and therefore stimulates estrogen levels in females. This fruit induces and normalize periods in females that have irregular periods. Thus the papaya fruit benefits.
16. Boosts Immunity
The high nutritional value of the papaya fruit such as vitamin A, B, C and K also lycopenes as well as the enzyme papain helps in boosting the immunity. The powerful antioxidants present in papaya helps to fight against infections caused by pathogens. This is one of the health benefits of papaya. Treats dengue: Studies have suggested that papaya helps to boost the production of platelets in the body which helps in fighting dengue. One of the remedies is extracting the juice from the papaya leaves. This is one of the papaya health benefits.
17. Natural Aphrodisiac
Papaya contains the amino acid and enzyme known as arginine. It acts on nitric acid which smoothens the muscles of the human penis and helps people with erectile dysfunction. Arginine also helps in blood flow throughout the penis.
18. Treats Nausea
One of the health benefits of papaya is that it has good amounts of vitamin C and E that help in relieving morning sickness as well as motion sickness.
Papayas can also be included as a healthy option for breakfast as well as in salads, salsas and a variety of different cuisines.