Also called papaws or pawpaws, the papaya plant is the fruit of a tropical plant that grows in many parts of the world. The fruit has a sweet taste that earned it the title of “fruit of the angels” by Christopher Colombus. It is shaped like a pear with a red-orange color and can grow up to 20 inches in length. The core has black seeds that are also edible, but bitter in taste. While papaya benefits your health in more ways than one, you can also add it to your dishes to make them easy to digest. That’s because the fruit contains an enzyme called papain that can help break down the tough proteins found in muscle meat. If you would like to eat the raw form, you can add it to your salads or make it into a pickle.
Papaya Benefits for Good Health and Wellness
Acts as a Powerful Antioxidant Agent
Papaya contains various carotenoids one of which is lycopene. This compound works against the free radicals that enter your body because of polluting factors in the environment and food you eat. Some of the free radicals are also created as a by-product of the metabolism in your body. These agents can cause oxidative stress in your body cells because of which you become more prone to getting diseases. The lycopene in papayas can reverse the effects of the free radicals so they can no longer cause harm.
Soothes Your Digestion
As mentioned above, papaya benefits your digestion by breaking down the tough proteins in your food. It can also provide relief from issues like constipation, bloating, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). In addition to eating the fruit, the leaves and seeds are also edible and have been known to help treat stomach ulcers.
Keeps Your Heart Healthy
Papaya contains various beneficial compounds that can contribute to heart health. Some of these compounds include lycopene and vitamin C that can reduce the effects of bad LDL cholesterol in your blood while enhancing the positives of the good HDL cholesterol. The fiber and potassium in papayas can balance the sodium you consume to keep your heart free of the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Protects You from Cancer
Eating papaya in fermented or pickle form can help lower inflammation levels. And, the action of the free radicals in the body. By protecting your body cells from oxidative damage thanks to the content of beta-carotene, papaya can help lower the risk of contracting breast cancer. In case you have already tested positive for malignant cells, papaya can slow the progression of the disease.
Improves Brain Function
Papaya contains the compound choline that is essential for good sleep and cognitive functioning like improved memory. Further, one of the key reasons for oxidative stress and Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly is the effect of free radicals. By consuming papaya in fermented form, it is possible to lower the 8-OHdG biomarker. This marker indicates the effects of free radicals on your brain and the degeneration of your brain cells.
Other Surprising Papaya Benefits
If you can add papaya in any form to your daily diet, you can get many of its additional benefits such as:
- Carotenoids in papaya can reverse inflammation in the body. This swelling is indicated by blood markers like interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and C-reactive protein (CRP). Consistent inflammation in the body is one of the main reasons for contracting diseases.
- Zeaxanthin, a kind of antioxidant in papaya can filter out harmful UV rays and prevent weakening of the eyes of the elderly.
- The high fiber content in papayas can help improve the body’s response to insulin. It can also lower high glucose levels in the blood.
- Antioxidants like lycopene and vitamin C along with proteolytic enzymes chymopapain and papain in papayas can keep your skin looking toned. And, free of signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles.
- Papayas promote healthy hair thanks to the vitamin C that builds and repairs collagen.