Christopher Columbus would call the papaya “fruit of the angels.” The entire fruit, as well as parts of the tree, provide a multitude of health benefits. The papaya benefits range from acne reduction to cancer protection.
The delicious papaya fruit with its origins in Central America and Southern Mexico is now grown in the majority of tropical countries. India leads in papaya production with Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, and Indonesia being other top producers. Carica papaya is the scientific name of this juicy and luscious fruit.
Papayas are a brilliant source of Vitamin C with one cup of the raw fruit providing 144 percent of the required daily value. The fruit is also a good source of Vitamin A (31 %) and folate (13 %) and the minerals potassium (10 %) and magnesium (3 %). In addition, the fruit contains other B vitamins, lutein and zeaxanthin, alpha and beta-carotene, vitamin K, and calcium. It also has the powerful antioxidant lycopene.
Papaya Benefits make it a Worthy Addition to your Diet (73×13)
The nutrients present in papaya may help provide relief or ward against various health conditions.
1. Macular Degeneration
As per a study that appeared in the ‘Archives of Ophthalmology’, intake of no less than 3 servings of this fruit every day may reduce the risk of developing ARMD (age-related macular degeneration). ARMD is an eye disorder that causes blurred vision and may ultimately lead to blindness. In fact, it is a key cause of loss of vision in older adults.
The antioxidant Zeaxanthin in papaya blocks out dangerous blue light rays. Beta carotene is known to improve eyesight.
2. Resolves Digestive Issues
As per a study that came out in Neuro Endocrinology Letters, the intake of papaya helped to alleviate digestive problems. The study also found papaya to be beneficial in the preservation of the digestion tract.
Interestingly, papaya is a well-liked remedy for digestive problems that include IBS (irritable bowel syndrome and heartburn. The rich fiber and water content of papaya aids in preventing constipation and encouraging regularity.
The enzyme papain in papaya breaks down strong protein chains present in muscle meat, making the meat easier to digest.
The papaya seeds and the leaves and roots of the tree have been found capable of treating ulcers. This applies to both humans and animals.
Nutrients present in papaya aid in keeping colon cancer away. The fiber of the fruit attaches itself to cancer-inducing toxins located in the colon. It prevents these toxins from going to the healthy colon cells.
The nutrients folate, vitamin E, beta-carotene and Vitamin C are linked to a reduced occurrence of colon cancer. A more detailed discussion of cancer benefits from papaya follows.
3. Cancer Fighter
As per a study that appeared in ‘Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers,’ younger men who consumed a beta-carotene rich fruits received some protection against prostate cancer. In older men (above 65 years), there is an indication of a considerable inverse connection between high intake of lycopene and a reduced probability of developing prostate cancer. The papaya fruit has both beta-carotene and lycopene.
As per research that came out in Mutation Research, fermented papaya preparations could assist with bringing down the risk of cancer and decreasing oxidative stress in type2 diabetics. Another study indicates that the antioxidant lycopene can alleviate cancer radiotherapy’s effects.
Other research reveals that papaya is beneficial in battling certain cancers including those of the pancreas and breast. An extract derived from dried papaya leaves displayed anti-carcinogenic power against tumor cells cultivated in the laboratory. As per a 2010 study, these powerful effects were maximum with higher doses of the fruit’s leaf tea.
4. Toothache Relief
Papaya benefits apply to the mouth as well. A paste made from fresh papaya roots and rubbed over the teeth and gums helps with toothache relief. The papaya tree’s inner bark is a wonderful medicine for tooth problems.
5. Anti-Inflammatory and Great for Arthritis Prevention and Relief
The protein-digesting enzymes chymopapain and papain found in papaya are proven to improve burn healing and assist with reducing inflammation. Chymopapain considerably controls osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Beta-carotene and vitamin C, also present in the fruit are effective at bringing the inflammation down. As per findings that appeared in the ‘Annals of the Rheumatic Disease,’ people who consumed high amounts of Vitamin C were less likely to develop arthritis than those who consumed lesser amounts.
Finally, choline in papaya also contributes to a decrease in chronic inflammation. Choline is an important nutrient associated with a variety of other benefits to the human body. This includes helping our body with sleep, memory, learning, movement, transfer of nerve impulses and preservation of cellular membrane structure.
One study determined that men with good intake of carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables showed a considerable decrease in a specific inflammatory marker called CRP.
Papaya, by virtue of its fiber content, may help people with type 1 diabetes reduce their blood glucose levels. In people with type 2 diabetes, it could additionally improve insulin and lipid levels.
As per a study performed at the Mauritius University, fermented papaya in combination with green tea helps prevent diabetes. In North-East India, papaya flowers are utilized to prevent diabetes.
7. Heart Disease
Papaya benefits the heart in more ways than one. The potent antioxidant vitamins A,C and E assist with preventing diabetic heart disease and atherosclerosis. Vitamins C and E aid in heart health by hindering the sticking of cholesterol on blood vessel walls.
The fiber content in papaya enables it to decrease levels of LDL (bad cholesterol).
As per a study, the intake of fermented papaya supplements for two weeks was associated with reduced inflammation. It also provided for a better LDL to HDL cholesterol ratio compared to people who took a placebo.
8. Good for the Bones
The body needs Vitamin K for good health. Deficiency in this vitamin can increase the risk of sustaining a bone fracture. Vitamin K boosts calcium absorption and may bring down the possibility of excretion of calcium through the urine. This means there is enough calcium within the body to rebuild and strengthen the bones.
9. Immunity Booster
The Vitamin C content in papaya which is way above the recommended daily intake is key in giving the immune system a boost. It enables the body to thrive while it works to battle against all kinds of illnesses and infections.
In connection with infection, it is worth mentioning that papaya leaves can increase the platelet count in dengue patients. Papaya leaves have to be ground with some water and the resulting juice given to the patient.
10. Lowered Asthma Risk
A higher intake of certain nutrients including beta carotene is associated with a lower risk of developing asthma. Papaya has beta carotene. This nutrient as well as Vitamin C also aids in reducing the severity of asthma in existing sufferers.
Papaya benefits women with irregular menses when eaten in its unripe, green form. This form of the fruit restores regularity to the period cycle. Papayas are hot food and hence, they rouse estrogen, thereby triggering the periods.
12. Strong Antioxidant Activity
Antioxidants such as the carotenoids in papaya are able to neutralize free radicals. Free radicals produced during body metabolism can encourage oxidative stress. This, in turn, may cause disease. Research shows that fermented papaya can decrease oxidative stress in people having prediabetes, liver disease and mild hypothyroidism. It can also effect this decrease in older adults.
There is a belief that excessive free radicals in the brain have a key role to play in Alzheimer’s disease. A study reveals that fermented papaya extract given to people with Alzheimer’s for 6 months caused an amazing outcome. There was a 40 percent decrease in a certain biomarker indicative of oxidative harm to DNA. This biomarker is also associated with aging and cancer.
Papaya Benefits for Skin
Papaya is great for the skin from improving glow to rectifying acne and burns.
1. Beautiful and healthy-looking skin
With its papain enzyme and Vitamin A content, the fruit helps remove inactive proteins and dead skin cells. The result is fresh-looking skin. Papaya also hydrates your skin. If you have acne, all you need is some raw papaya. Grind it to a fine paste and leave it on your face for 30 minutes before rinsing the paste off.
Vitamin C is essential to maintain and build collagen, responsible for giving skin its structure. You get plenty of Vitamin C from papaya.
To make your skin glow, you just have to apply a papaya-honey mask. Take half a papaya, mash it and blend with three spoons of honey till you get a fine paste. After gentle application on the face and neck, leave the paste on for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, wash off with cold water.
One study found that older women who consumed a mixture of vitamin C, lycopene and other antioxidants for 3 to 4 months had a measurable, noticeable, improvement in the depth of their facial wrinkles.
2. Natural Sun Protection
A study found that lycopene supplementation for 10-12 weeks reduced skin redness following sun exposure. This redness is an indication of skin injury.
It is believed that too much free radical activity causes sagging, wrinkling and other age-associated skin damage. Lycopene and Vitamin C in papaya help to control these kinds of skin damage.
4. Crack Relief
Mashed papaya provides good treatment for cracked and sore heels.
4. Effective on Burns and Wounds
Latex from the papaya fruit is helpful in reducing burn marks. Papaya may also be good in preventing burn-associated infection. Ointments with the papain enzyme in them have been utilized to treat bedsores (decubitus ulcers).
Papaya Benefits for Hair
Just like your skin, the hair needs caring for. Here are some ways papaya does that.
1. Moisturized Hair
Vitamin A which is there in papaya is an essential nutrient for sebum production. Sebum gives the hair moisture.
2. No Balding
Vitamin A also aids in hair growth. In fact, as per studies, papaya nutrients can assist with keeping balding at bay. Intake of the fruit at least three times a week can decrease the incidence of hair thinning.
3. Hair Conditioner
The papaya fruit may be used as a natural conditioner. The result is smoother and softer skin. Make a thick paste of papaya, yogurt, banana and coconut oil. Apply it over your damp hair. After this, wrap a shower cap or towel over your hair to trigger heat on the scalp. Wash with warm water.
4. Dandruff Management
It is possible to create a natural hair mask to help control dandruff. After removing the seeds from raw papaya, blend the flesh with 100 ml of yogurt. Let the paste sit on your hair for half an hour. Once the time is up, wash the mask off.
Papaya Benefits Weight Loss
Though papaya contains natural sugars, it has quite a low glycemic index (GI) of just 3. When you eat foods low in GI, it indirectly helps with weight loss. These foods will not cause blood sugar levels to spike which may trigger overeating.
As mentioned earlier, the papain in papaya breaks down animal muscle, fat, and tendons. Even if this process will not hasten your metabolism, the benefit is noteworthy.
Papaya contains fiber and this encourages weight loss. If you have bloating or constipation, papaya can function as a natural laxative, making your stomach flat. The fiber contributes bulk to stools, making it easier for them to move through the digestive tract.
Papaya taken in a serving or two is helpful if your bloating and constipation are due to overindulgence, consumption of excessive insoluble fiber or intake of too many constipation-triggering foods or dairy. Ideally, strive to balance both soluble and insoluble fiber for good gut health.
Be wary of taking papaya if you have a latex allergy. In such a case, it is better to first get an allergy test after consulting an allergist, naturopath or doctor. This is to know whether you can safely consume the fruit or should avoid it.
To conclude, feel free to enjoy the papaya benefits any way you like. Have it in your smoothie, salsa or fruit salad. You can even add it to your glass of lemonade.