Papaya is one of the best known yellow fruits in the market. Coming from the family Caricaceae and genus Carica, papaya is considered native in the American tropics, such as Central America and southern Mexico. The fruit is known to originated from Mexico several hundred years prior to the rise of the Mesoamerican classical civilization. Papaya is also known for its health benefits.
Papaya is rich in vitamins and minerals. According to World’s Healthiest Foods, the fruit contains vitamin A and vitamin C. Vitamin A is vital for visual, mucus membrane, and skin health while vitamin C boosts the body’s resistance against sickness-causing microorganisms. Also, vitamin C provides collagen, which acts as cement that binds loose cells and tissues. This action prevents the skin from sagging; thus, it makes the skin youthful. In addition, both vitamin A and vitamin C act as antioxidants, which means they can help the body get rid of toxins and other harmful elements, such as free radicals, which contribute to the development of cancer.
Along with vitamins A and C, papa also contains copper, magnesium, and potassium, which are responsible for cellular mechanisms, neuromuscular health, and cardiovascular health. One thing to note about potassium is its key role in the sodium-potassium pump, which helps in the body’s homeostasis or stability. Potassium also negates the fluid-retention caused by increased sodium levels in the body.
Papaya helps promote the health of the gastrointestinal system. According to Nutrition and You, the fruit contains fiber, which is found in its soft and digestible flesh. As per the publication, it facilitates normal bowel movements and decreases constipation issues. Fiber also acts as sweep, cleaning the GI tract and helping eliminate unwanted variables like waste products, toxins, and free radicals.
Papaya also helps against inflammation. According to Mercola, papaya contains the proteolytic enzyme called papain, which is known to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the stomach. As per the publication, this covers post-surgical complications, such as fever and swelling. In addition, papaya has substances that boost protein digestion; hence, prevents acid reflux and relieves symptoms of ulcer and irritable bowel syndrome.
Anti-Diabetes and Anti-Heart Disease
Papaya can be part of diabetes and cardiac disease management. As per Medical News Today, research has found that people with type 1 diabetes who eat high-fiber diet, such as papaya, demonstrated reduced blood sugar levels while those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes displayed improved blood glucose, insulin, and lipid levels. The publication added that the risk of developing a cardiovascular disease can also be reduced, since the fruit is rich in vitamins, potassium, and fiber.
Papaya can prevent cancer. Accorrding to Organic Facts, research found that a papaya leaf extract had an anti-carcinogenic impact against laboratory grown tumor cells. As per University of Florida researcher Nam Dang and her teammates, higher doses of the tea yielded stronger effects and learned that tumor growth was delayed in the process. From there, papaya has become wdely used in the West.
As a fruit, papaya can be added to various meals, such as Papaya Boats. According to All Recipes, the ingredients include two medium papayas (cut in half lengthwise, seeded), a cup of fat-free plain yogurt, one-fourth cup walnuts, one-fourth cup raisins, a cup of chopped fresh strawberries, and two tablespoons of honey.
To prepare, the raisins, walnuts, and yogurt are mixed in a bowl. Next, the strawberries are folded in. Then, the mixture is spooned into the center of the papaya halves. Finally, they are drizzled with honey to serve.
Papaya is rich in health benefits. Thus, adding it to weekly meal menus will definitely help boost the health and well-being of individuals and their families.