In tropical climates, papayas grow and are also known as papaws or pawpaws. Their sweet taste, vibrant color, and the broad range of health advantages they give make them a popular fruit.
Papaya, a formerly rare and exotic fruit, is now available at most times of the year.
A reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, assisting in digestion, improving blood glucose regulation in people with diabetes, reducing blood pressure, and improving wound healing are the potential health benefits of eating papaya.
Papayas are a fleshy, soft fruit that can be used in a wide range of culinary ways. Here we will analyze more about the health benefits, uses, how to integrate more of them into your diet, and what papayas have nutritional value.
Important facts about papaya:
- Papaya is native to Mexico. However, it grows naturally in the Caribbean and Florida too.
- According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), India produces the most papayas – over 5 million tons in 2013.
- It can be added to salads, smoothies, and other dishes.
It is assumed that the nutrients present in papaya have a variety of health benefits. They can be effective in defending against a variety of health conditions.
Age-related macular degeneration
Zeaxanthin, which is an antioxidant present in papaya, filters out harmful rays of blue light.
It is claimed that it plays a protective role in eye health, and it can prevent macular degeneration.
A higher consumption of all fruits, however, has been shown to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and its progression.
In persons that consume a high volume of some nutrients, the likelihood of developing asthma is lower. Beta-carotene, found in foods like papaya, apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, pumpkin, and carrots, is one of these nutrients.
Consuming beta-carotene, an antioxidant found in papayas, can decrease the risk of cancer. According to a study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers, among younger men, diets rich in beta-carotene can play a protective role against prostate cancer.
A higher risk of bone fracture has been associated with low vitamin K intake. For good health, adequate intake of vitamin K is vital as it increases calcium absorption and can decrease urinary calcium excretion, meaning there is more calcium in the body to reinforce and repair the bones.
Studies have shown that people with type 1 diabetes who eat high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels, and blood sugar, lipid, and insulin levels may have increased in people with type 2 diabetes. Around 3 grams of fiber is given by one small papaya, equivalent to only 17 grams of carbohydrates.
Papayas contain an enzyme that supports digestion called papain; it can actually be used as a tenderizer of meat. The fiber and water content of papaya is also high, both of which help prevent constipation and encourage regularity and a balanced digestive tract.
Papaya’s fiber, potassium and vitamin content all help fend off heart disease. The most significant dietary change that a person can make to decrease their risk of cardiovascular disease is an increase in potassium intake along with a decrease in sodium intake.
Choline, found in papayas, is a very necessary and flexible nutrient that allows our bodies to sleep, move muscles, learn and remember. Choline also helps to preserve the integrity of cell membranes, helps to transmit nerve impulses, helps to absorb fat, and decreases chronic inflammation.
Skin and healing
Mashed papaya tends to be helpful for promoting wound healing and avoiding infection of burned areas when used topically. Researchers conclude that their beneficial effects are due to the proteolytic enzymes chymopapain and papain in papaya. Papain-enzyme ointments have also been used to treat decubitus ulcers (bedsores).
Papaya is also great for hair because it contains vitamin A, a nutrient needed to produce sebum that keeps hair hydrated. For the growth of all bodily tissues, including skin and hair, vitamin A is also required. For the construction and maintenance of collagen, which gives structure to the skin, an adequate intake of vitamin C that papaya can provide is required.
Papayas are an excellent vitamin C source, and 224 percent of the recommended daily intake is given by a single medium fruit.
One medium papaya has approximately:
- 120 calories
- 30 grams of carbohydrate – including 5 grams of fiber and 18 grams of sugar
- 2 grams of protein
Papayas are also a good source of:
They also contain B vitamins, alpha and beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, vitamin K, and lycopene, the most commonly tomato-associated powerful antioxidant.
There are several convenient ways to integrate papaya into a diet. As it is quite juicy, the fruit is very tricky to consume, but consider the following feeding methods and recipes:
How to eat papaya
Look for new papayas with reddish orange skin that are soft to the touch when picking or eating papaya. Just cut it like a melon, scoop the seeds out and have fun. The papaya seeds are edible but have a peppery, bitter taste. It is possible to scoop the soft flesh of the fruit out by using a spoon.
Papaya is a versatile, soft fruit. This implies that it can be mixed into several recipes. Consider the following basic planning methods:
- Make a tropical fruit salad with fresh papaya, pineapple, and mango.
- Muddle papaya into a glass of lemonade, iced tea, or water for a burst of fresh fruity flavor.
- Make a fresh salsa with papaya, mango, jalapeno, red peppers, and chipotle pepper. Use as a topping for fish tacos.
- Add a few slices of frozen papaya to smoothies. Combine with pineapple juice, half a frozen banana, and Greek yogurt for a sweet tropical treat.
As papayas contain enzymes called chitanases, people with a latex allergy may also be allergic to papaya. A cross-reaction between latex and the foods that contain it can be induced. Ripe papaya may have an off-putting odor for others. By mixing the cut fruit with lime juice, you can minimize this smell. The papaya seeds, although unpleasant tasting to some, are perfectly safe to consume.