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12 Astounding Health Benefits in This Tropical Fruit Will Surprise You
Papayas are one of the healthiest fruits around and are simply overflowing with health benefits, on top of being super delicious. This fruit is native to Central America and southern Mexico and is also grown in Hawaii.
There are two types of papayas grown: the smaller type, grown in Hawaii, are most common in the US, and the Mexican papaya, which can grow as big as 10 pounds and are similar in size to a small watermelon! Sometimes called tree melon, or in some locations, a pawpaw, papayas are rich and sweet with a very smooth texture. In some places, papaya juice is used a meat tenderizer.
They are bitter while they are still green, like many fruits, but when the skin is a butter yellow color they are ripe and ready to eat. Unripe papayas are used in some parts of the world as a substitute for vegetables, but for most of us, we know papayas from their use in fruit salads, salsas, chutneys, and, of course, by themselves as a juicy, sweet treat.
Did you know that in addition to that sweet taste there are a multitude of health benefits inside that delicious fruit? Keep reading to find out why you should be eating a bit more papaya every week.
1. Rich in Vitamins, Minerals, and Fiber
The best thing about papayas is their vitamin C content. Just one serving will give you 144 percent of your daily recommended amount. Vitamin C is what helps your body fight infections and is a terrific antioxidant. Papayas also contain about 31 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin A, which is necessary for healthy skin and eyes, 13 percent of your recommended intake of folates, and healthy amounts of potassium and fiber. Potassium helps control your blood pressure and heart rate, while fiber can help prevent colon and stomach cancers.
Papayas also contain many of the essential B vitamins, such as folic acid, B6, riboflavin, and B1. Your body does not make these vitamins, so you must consume them in your foods. This is why eating foods such as papayas are so important. This juicy fruit has 212 amino acids, along with several important enzymes, such as papain, which has an anti-inflammatory effect on your digestive system. Papain helps foods digest more quickly, which inhibits acid reflux, and has been shown to be effective in treating ulcers.
2. Cancer Prevention
Papaya is rich in phytonutirents, flavonoids, and antioxidants, all of which protect your cells from the damage that free radicals cause. The fiber in papayas has been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer, and cancers of the colon. Find out more fruits preventing cancer.
3. Kicks Stress to the Curb
The vitamin C rich papaya can help keep you free from stress. The University of Alabama performed a study which showed that just 200mg of vitamin C each day can help to regulate the flow of stress hormones in studies done with rats. So after a hard day at work, come home and munch on a snack of fresh papayas, perhaps the most delicious stress reliever on the planet!
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4. Lowers Cholesterol
With its treasure chest of antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber, papayas can stop cholesterol from building up in your arteries. An excess of cholesterol can lead to heart disease, hypertension, heart attacks, and stroke.
5. Great Choice for Diabetics
Papaya has a low sugar content, so it’s a great choice for those suffering from diabetes. Eating a diet rich in fiber and healthy, natural foods, such as papayas, can even prevent diabetes from occurring in the first place.
6. Helps to Shed Pounds
Papaya, although it is super sweet to the taste buds, is also super low in calories, so you can feel good about adding it to your diet. Papayas high fiber content helps you to feel full and keep your bowel movements regular, so it makes losing weight easy. When your sweet tooth starts calling, give it a cup of sliced papayas.
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7. Prevents Premature Aging
Of course, everyone wants to stay looking as young as possible for as long as possible, but until someone finds that fountain of youth, eating papayas is a good idea. Eating a cup of papayas every day can help keep your skin looking young and stop those wrinkles from forming any sooner than they have to. Papayas are rich in antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E, all of which will prevent your skin from the premature signs of aging that free radicals cause.
8. Eases Menstrual Pain
Women who have pain along with their menstrual cycle should try eating several servings of papaya each day. The enzyme in papayas, called papain, helps regulate menstrual cycles and ease the flow so there is less cramping.
9. Improves Digestion
Many Americans suffer from digestive problems and many of these could be solved if they consumed more papayas. Eating one serving (one cup) of papaya each day can help improve digestion and stop ulcers from forming. The high fiber content in papayas will also help keep the digestive system moving so you will experience fewer episodes of constipation.
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10. Improves Your Immune System
Your immune system is what protects you from the daily barrage of pathogens, bacteria, and viruses that we are exposed to each day. If you want fewer bouts with colds and flus, eat more papaya. The vitamin C in papayas is what supports a healthy immune system and who doesn’t want that?
11. Excellent for Your Eyes
The vitamin A in papayas help to stop age related deterioration of your eyesight. Papayas are also loaded with lutein, which has been shown in numerous studies to help stop age related macular degeneration. Keep your eyesight healthy with some delicious papaya. Read more about foods for eyesight.
12. Protects You from Arthritis
As we age, many people find they are affected by a debilitating disease called arthritis. Eating papayas regularly can help stop arthritis from making its home in your joints. The Annals of Rheumatic Diseases published a study which showed that persons who ate foods low in vitamin C were three times more likely to develop arthritis than those who ate a diet high in vitamin C. With more than 144 percent of your daily recommend intake of vitamin C in just one cup of papaya, you can’t go wrong by adding this little tropical jewel to your diet.
Although Christopher Columbus once called papayas “the fruit of the angels,” be aware that 90 percent of the papayas sold in American markets are GMO papayas. Ask and be certain that you are eating only organic, non-GMO papayas.