Fun fact: Black seeds of papaya have sharp, peppery taste. They are used as a substitute for black pepper in some countries.
Papaya, or Carica papaya, is an exotic fruit found in tropical regions throughout the world. Aside from its digestive and medicinal properties, papayas are also packed with several nutrients that are good for the body.
Unripe papayas are green, while ripe papayas have orange outside color. Papayas may be eaten when it is ripe or not. In certain countries, unripe or green papaya is cooked as a vegetable. Eating green papaya raw is however not recommended as its milky latex may contain toxic alkaloids. With its nutritional, digestive and medicinal purposes, it is important to get into the nutrients one can acquire from this fruit.
For those who are conscious with the amount of calories they are taking inside their bodies, papaya could be their ultimate friend. The United States Department of Agriculture Nutrient data base states that every 100 grams of papaya has 39 calories. It also does not have any cholesterol.
Papaya is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. In fact, papaya has more vitamin C content than lemon and orange. It has 103% of the daily-recommended allowance. Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is a water-soluble nutrient that is very essential for overall health and wellness. It is a common fact that vitamin C guards the immune system of the body. But more than that, vitamin C is also in-charge for the growth and repair of body tissues. As an antioxidant, it scavenges free radicals that harm the body resulting to illnesses like cancer and heart diseases.
This fruit also has 36% DRA of vitamin A, an important nutrient for a healthy vision. Vitamin A likewise keeps the skin and mucus membrane healthy. Like other fruits, papaya also comes with β-carotene, cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These flavonoids have antioxidant function, which is primarily to protect the cells from free radical damage. They also aid in maintaining the health of the cardiovascular and nervous system.
Other vitamins like vitamins E, K and B-complex, particularly folic acid, riboflavin, thiamine, and pyridoxine, are also found in papaya. Vitamin B complex is an essential element that boosts metabolism.
Papaya is also a good source of potassium with its 5% DRA. Moreover, this fruit has minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Calcium helps to strengthen the formation of bones. Iron is an essential nutrient primarily for growth and normal cellular functioning. Zinc, which is found in cells, helps prevent bacteria or viruses from invading the immune system.
The Health Benefits of Papaya
In the early ages, papayas are classified as one of the rarest and most exotic types of fruits. Because of its tasteful flavor and amazing health benefits, they were widely grown and distributed in countries with tropical climates. Papaya, also commonly called as pawpaw or papaws, has a sweet taste with buttery texture. The papaya fruit as well as its tree contain protein digesting enzymes called papain. But its papain content is only one of many more beneficial substances that papaya fruit has. The totality of the papaya tree contains revitalizing and healing compounds that will enable your body to fight off diseases on its own. Papaya is rich in vitamins and minerals to achieve an overall optimal health. To understand better how papaya can make our body and its systems function accordingly, enumerated and explained below are its health benefits.
All parts of the papaya tree contain papain. What is papain? Papain is the enzyme that extracts the protein from the food we intake and breaks them down into amino acids. Failure of the body to break down protein from the food we eat can lead to bacteria build-up in our digestive tracts. This can lead to significant imbalance affecting many of our systems. Papaya cleanses the digestive tract to regulate digestion.
Papaya contains a fairly good amount of soluble dietary fiber that regulates bowel movement. Eating papaya will help reduce chances of having constipation problems. This is also another reason why eating papaya can help in losing weight because you can assure that the food you eat are digested well and then wasted properly. Bear in mind that as we grow older, our body deteriorates and it produces less digestive enzymes. It is important to eat papaya to keep the protein digestion normal for the body’s utmost condition. This is the reason why many health and fitness professionals associate papaya in their diet because it can help prevent digestive and inflammatory issues as well as obesity.
Reduces Effects of Chemical Reaction
Papain is responsible in producing amino acids. Amino acids play vital roles in the whole of our body. They are responsible for every chemical reaction happening in our organism. Chemical reaction can have dangerous effects in our systems and with enough amino acids these negative effects are reduced.
Avoids Heart-related Ailments
Papaya contain antioxidants particularly beta-carotene and lycopene. These antioxidant properties in papayas eliminate unwanted fat calories in the body significantly in the arteries. This is the reason why papaya is good for the heart because of its ability to reduce cholesterol oxidation. Oxidation of cholesterol is the process that can lead to arteries blockage which is one of the primary causes of heart attack. Eating fruits rich with antioxidants regulates the circulation of blood flow in your system and decreases the chance of developing various heart ailments.
Prevents Stroke and Heart Attack
Papaya is rich in vitamin C which is an excellent mineral that eliminates risk of heart diseases. As mentioned above, cholesterol oxidation is a very dangerous process that can lead to stroke, heart attack, and many more serious heart ailments. Vitamin C is also a very powerful mineral that help avoid cholesterol oxidation. This vitamin contains paraoxonase that eliminates the bad types of cholesterol and transforms them to good ones to avoid cholesterol oxidation and its respective effects.
Optimal Eye Health
The beta-carotene property of papaya potentially converts itself to Vitamin A. Vitamin A is very essential to maintain a clear vision and healthy eyes. Papayas also have what they call xanthophylls that are absorbed by the eyes’ macular region. Xanthophylls protect the eyes from harmful UV and blue light with high energy that are damaging to the retinas. Studies were also conducted about the ability of papaya’s xanthophylls content to avoid development of ARMD or the age-related macular degeneration. Eating papaya makes your eyes healthy and avoids chronic eye diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, and the likes.
Healthier Hair and Skin
The combination of papain and Vitamins A and C that papayas contain is very beneficial for the condition of your hair and skin. Vitamin A is responsible for the production of sebum that moisturizes the hair. Vitamin A is also essential in skin and hair tissue growth. Vitamin C on the other hand regulates collagen production and maintenance. Collagen is what keeps our skin and hair glowing, young-looking, and healthy.
Papaya contains Vitamin K which is essential to the condition of the bones. Intake of food with Vitamin K makes your bones stronger and less prone to fractures. Vitamin K improves the absorption of calcium that is vital to the health of our bones.
A lot of people enjoy eating papaya and this is so not only because of its delightful sweet taste but also because of the many important health benefits associated in eating it. The health benefits discussed above is an inspiration to drive us to eat papaya regularly.