Papaya, also known as the "fruit of angels," is native to Central America and is grown in many tropical regions around the world. Not only is it delicious, it’s also rich in essential nutrients and has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its healing properties.
If you're curious about the health benefits of papaya and how it can improve your overall well-being, you've come to the right place. In this article, we will explore papaya's top 10 health benefits and why you should consider adding it to your daily diet. So, let's dive in and discover what this tropical fruit has to offer.
1. Improves Digestive Health*
One of the most notable attributes of papaya is its abundance of papain — a digestive enzyme that aids in breaking down complex proteins, promoting healthy digestion. *
Papaya is known to be one of the best home remedies to alleviate irritable bowel syndrome.* Eating papaya on an empty stomach helps alleviate some digestive issues such as bloating, indigestion, and upset stomach. In traditional medicine, papaya was used to cure stomach ailments such as acid reflux, heartburn, and stomach ulcers.*
Papaya is also a rich dietary fiber source, essential in regulating digestion. Its high water content promotes a healthy digestive tract and helps prevent the risk of constipation.*
2. May Help with Weight Loss*
Papaya an excellent food choice for people aiming to lose weight, primarily due to its high fiber content and low-calorie count. In fact, 100 grams of papaya contains only 43 calories. It helps you feel full longer, so you'd less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks or overeat during meals. Its natural sweetness can also help curb cravings for sugar.
Unlike other restrictive diets that can leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied, the natural fiber in papaya promotes a sense of satiety, so you'll likely stop eating when you're full and satisfied, not when you're sick and stuffed.
3. May Help Manage Diabetes*
A high-fiber diet also helps decrease blood glucose levels, making papaya even more helpful for lowering cholesterol levels.* While it is sweet in taste, papaya has a moderate glycemic index and contains organic sugars, making it a healthier option compared to other sugary snacks. The fiber in papaya slows down the uptake of sugar in the body, helping to alleviate diabetes symptoms and control blood sugar levels. *
Health experts recommend diabetic patients consume papaya in limited quantities as a mid-day or mid-afternoon snack. Including papaya in the diabetic diet can help satisfy sweet cravings while managing diabetes and providing essential nutrients for overall health. *
4. May Boost Heart Health*
Papaya's high fiber, potassium, and vitamin content are excellent for heart health.* Potassium regulates heartbeat and blood pressure levels, while fiber helps manage cholesterol levels, thus lowering the risk of heart disease. *
Papaya is also loaded with phytochemicals and powerful antioxidants, which help prevent oxidation of cholesterol, a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. These antioxidants facilitate the removal of excess cholesterol from the blood vessel walls. This process helps lower cholesterol levels and regulate blood flow, preventing heart attack or stroke.* Adding papaya in your daily diet may help keep your heart healthy.
5. Strengthens Immune System*
Papaya is a delicious tropical fruit packed with immune-boosting properties. Its rich source of vitamin C helps stimulate the production of white blood cells, which strengthens the immune system and helps fight off diseases and infections.
The presence of papain also aids digestion and supports a healthy gut, which is closely linked to a robust immune system. Regular consumption of papaya provides a natural and tasty way to bolster your body's defenses and maintain overall health. In fact, a medium-sized papaya offers over 200% of the recommended daily vitamin C intake.
6. May Alleviate Inflammation*
Papaya is an exceptional fruit for alleviating inflammation, thanks to its strong anti-inflammatory properties. One of its key compounds is the proteolytic enzyme papain, which helps break down proteins and reduces inflammation in the body.
Additionally, the vitamins and antioxidants present in papaya, including beta-carotene, lutein, and a high content of vitamin C, work together to neutralize free radicals in the body, reducing oxidative stress and inflammation. These compounds have potent anti-inflammatory properties that help combat inflammation at the molecular level, reducing the production of cytokines, which are a group of proteins that help regulate inflammation.
7. May Help Lower Cancer Risk*
Several studies suggest that regular consumption of papaya may reduce the risk of certain types of cancers due to its chemotherapeutic effect. Papaya is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and anti-cancer properties that play a significant role in mitigating the growth of cancer cells. The powerful antioxidants in papayas, including carotenoids and vitamin C, help neutralize harmful free radicals, thereby preventing cell damage. The papaya extract, especially from the ripe papayas, has been found to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, particularly in the digestive tract.
8. Protects Eyesight*
Papaya is rich in carotenoids, specifically zeaxanthin and lutein. These compounds concentrate in the eye's retina and are known to lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration.*
Macular degeneration is a progressive loss of eyesight that usually affects the elderly. Papaya may help prevent vision loss. Zeaxanthin, an antioxidant found in papaya, protects the retina by filtering out harmful light. This lowers the likelihood of macular degeneration.
Papayas also include vitamin A and flavonoids such as beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin, and lutein. These maintain the mucus membranes of the eyes healthy and protect them from damage. So, eating papaya on a daily basis may help to improve your vision.
9. Protects and Moisturizes Skin*
Papaya's natural properties offer myriad benefits for skin health, particularly when it comes to protecting and moisturizing the skin. The enzyme 'papain' found in papaya is an effective exfoliator, helping remove dead skin cells and aiding in skin rejuvenation. This makes it especially beneficial for those with dull skin, as removing dead skin cells can reveal a fresh, radiant layer of skin underneath.
Additionally, the rich content of vitamins A, C, and E in papaya provides powerful antioxidant protection, shielding the skin from damage caused by free radicals and environmental stressors. These vitamins also play a crucial role in maintaining firm skin and preventing premature aging. For those dealing with dry or flaky skin, the hydrating qualities of papaya can offer relief. The fruit is high in water content, which helps to moisturize the skin and maintain its softness and elasticity. Overall, the incorporation of papaya in skincare can significantly improve skin health and texture.
10. Stimulates Hair Growth*
Papaya is not only beneficial for the skin, but it also has the potential to foster hair health. *The folic acid content in papaya stimulates hair growth and helps maintain healthy hair follicles. Additionally, papaya seeds can be used in a hair pack to reduce dandruff. The antifungal properties of papaya seeds control and prevent dandruff, ensuring a healthy scalp environment for hair growth. To make a papaya hair pack, blend ripe papaya into a smooth paste and mix it with yogurt. Apply this mixture to your hair and leave it on for an hour before rinsing it off. Regular use of papaya for hair care can contribute to stronger and longer hair.
11. May Increase Breast Milk Production*
Green papaya has been known to increase breast milk production due to its ability to boost the production of oxytocin. * Oxytocin is a hormone that plays a crucial role in lactation and milk letdown. Green papaya contains enzymes that stimulate the production of oxytocin, leading to an increase in breast milk supply. This is why many healthcare providers and nutritionists recommend green papaya for lactating mothers, especially in Asian cultures, where it has been used for centuries. It can be eaten raw, added to various dishes, or mixed in tropical fruit salad, making it a versatile fruit and delicious addition to a nursing mother's diet.
Papaya In Supplements
The numerous benefits of natural papaya is the key reason why our expert nutrionists added this super fruit into every Root’d MULTI for him and her. It’s part of our digestive blend and together with probiotics (also in every Root’d packet) it helps your body naturally digest all the wonderful vitamins and minerals in every Root’d MULTI pack!
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It's fascinating to think that a single fruit can offer a lot of amazing health benefits. Papaya is absolutely a great example of nature's pharmacy at its best. It's a powerhouse of nutrients, supporting a myriad of bodily functions, from eye health to digestion, weight management, immune support, cardiovascular health and more! So the next time you pass by the fruit aisle in the grocery store, make sure to pick up a papaya. Its sweet taste and health benefits will make it a worthy addition to your diet.