Papaya is a wonderful fruit full of nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants and enzymes. Papaya contains lots of vitamin C, folate and fiber. Its nutritional value comes from its high content of beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids act as powerful natural anti oxidants. They help protect the body from free radicals that damage cells. Papaya also contains manganese, copper and iron. Manganese is involved in many different enzyme systems in the body including those involved in detoxification, carbohydrate metabolism, and collagen formation. Copper helps keep blood vessels clean and healthy, while iron assists in oxygen transport throughout the body.
Papayas are rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. Vitamin A is necessary for muscle maintenance and healing. Most people know that vitamin C is good for immunity and wound healing, however, scientists have recently discovered that it may play an important role in brain function. Vitamin C also aids the immune system by increasing white blood cell count. It is also responsible for the production of antibodies. Many fruits and vegetables, including papaya, contain folic acid. Folic acid is often referred to as B9. It is a water soluble B vitamin that is naturally found in green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and beans. Folate is especially useful in pregnant women. When taken during pregnancy, folate lowers the risk of birth defects such as neural tube defects.
Papaya is also a good source of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is what makes food bulkier and helps us feel fuller longer. Fiber helps control cholesterol levels, regulates bowel movements, and keeps our digestive tract healthy. In addition, it reduces the absorption of glucose and insulin. Both of these substances contribute to the regulation of blood sugar levels. Fiber also promotes weight loss. By keeping the stomach full, we tend not to eat as much.
Papaya is a tropical fruit rich in vitamin A and C, fiber and antioxidants. Papaya contains enzymes that digest food, making it great for digestion. Most people enjoy eating papayas raw, but they can also be enjoyed cooked or blended into smoothies. There are many different cultivars of papaya; however, the two most popular are Carica papaya (paw-paw) and Malus domestica (apple).
Benefits of papaya
Papaya fruit contains high amounts of vitamin C and beta-carotene
Papaya fruit provides the body with lots of nutrition and various vitamins and nutrients. These fruits have many health benefits. One of them is its ability to help protect the immune system.
Papaya fiber is high in vitamins and minerals
The fiber content of papaya helps lower cholesterol levels. Fiber also helps reduce the risk of colon cancer. Other nutritional components include vitamins A, B, and C; manganese; zinc; copper; folate; and iron.
It reduces the risk of cancer
Studies show that people who eat about two cups of chopped fresh fruit and vegetables each day have half the likelihood of getting certain types of cancers compared to those who do not.
It helps prevent depression
Papaya fruit contains the amino acid L-tryptophan, which is thought to help relieve depression. Research suggests that eating foods rich in tryptophan may have antidepressant effects.
It’s good for your heart
One cup of raw papaya per day can help prevent cardiovascular disease. In addition, research shows that papain, an enzyme in papayas that breaks down protein, reduces blood pressure.
It keeps you full
Papaya contains the enzyme chymopapain, which digests food particles in the stomach. When digestion begins, hunger pangs disappear, making you feel fuller longer.
It helps stretch out your meal
You don’t need to wait until after dinner to enjoy some papaya. Adding diced papaya to a salad makes it easier to finish your meal.
Risks of papaya
Papaya contains latex, which may cause an allergic reaction in some people. Papaya contains cyanide, which is toxic if eaten in sufficient quantity.
In addition, papaya contains solanine, which causes serious damage to red blood cells. A high-protein diet often results in urinary tract infections (UTIs), caused by bacteria in the urine. UTI symptoms include frequent urination, burning while urinating, pain in the lower back and abdomen, pain in the groin area, cloudy urine, painful urination, and fever. UTIs may result in kidney failure if not treated immediately.
How to eat papaya
Papayas aren’t actually fruit; they’re fruits’ fruits! An interesting fact about these tropical beauties is that they not only have the highest vitamin C content of any other fruit, but also contain high levels of beta-carotene, folate, lutein, and lycopene, making them a great addition to your diet. Their sweet flavor makes eating them simple, whether you are eating them plain or using them in salads and smoothies.
Papayas are one of the best foods for gut health. Papayas have high levels of vitamin C, folate, fiber, and lutein which are all essential for proper digestion. Not only do they help with digestion, but papayas also aid in detoxification and helps with liver function.
The easiest way to consume papayas is raw. You can just cut them open and scoop out the flesh. There are many different ways to prepare papayas though. One of my favorite ways is to make fruit salad! I mix together chopped ripe papaya, bananas, strawberries, oranges, kiwi, apples, pineapple chunks, and peaches. This makes for an incredibly delicious snack or dessert.
Another great way to enjoy fresh papaya is to use as a topping to salads or a side dish to grilled chicken or fish. I love mixing pieces of fresh papaya with tomatoes and onions to create a colorful dish.There are many ways to cook with papayas including stir fry, soup, smoothies, and even ice cream!
Here are some recipes using papaya:
Raw Papaya Salad
- ½ cup raw papaya (you won’t taste the seeds)
- ¼ cup red peppers, chopped
- ¼ cup celery, chopped
- ⅓ cup carrots, shredded
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a bowl combine the ingredients and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours before serving.
Blend Ingredients: Place in blender with ½ cup water and ¼ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over baby spinach leaves.
Combine 1 cup fresh papaya (no seeds), 1 banana (peeled), ½ cup strawberries, 3 tablespoons almond milk, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, and ice cubes in a blender and blend until smooth. Serves two.