Papayas most certainly look like no other fruit on the market. They’re large, bulky, and have the most curious pea-sized black seeds on their inside. Interestingly, papayas are more than a delightful fruit to enjoy with yogurt, granola or diced on its own; they’re healthy too, and very nutritious.
Papayas have now joined the rank of elite super-fruits everyone could benefit from. We’re not only talking about nutrition though; people have used papayas in traditional medicine since forever!
This is our quick guide to papaya, its nutrition and health benefits.
What is Papaya?
The papaya is a unique fruit native to Mexico and Central America, but it thrives in almost every tropical country on the planet. Papayas are large fruits with an abundant, creamy pulp. In fact, the fruit is 88% water, with the rest mainly being simple carbs, fiber, and nutrients. Papayas are excellent sources of vitamin C; a single serving adds 75% of the immune-boosting vitamin you need for the day.
It goes without saying papayas are widely available year-round, and you can also find dietary supplements made with the fruit, which makes adding papaya to your diet easy. These are some of the most interesting health benefits of papaya.
1. Papaya Has Many Antioxidants
Papayas are loaded with antioxidants, including vitamin C, A and lycopene. These antioxidants, along with carotenoids, which play a similar role, neutralize free radicals in our bloodstream, which are responsible for premature aging, chronic disease and other health risks caused by oxidative stress.
By keeping free radicals at bay, you’ve effectively guaranteed a longer and healthier life, as they’re related to almost every significant modern health risk, including some types of cancer.
2. Papaya Can Boost Your Immune System
Vitamin C is papaya’s most important nutrient. Of course, we all know this vitamin is a natural immune system booster. However, you might not know it can also reduce the risk of chronic disease, help manage blood pressure, lower the risk of heart disease, help prevent iron deficiency and much more. Vitamin C is critical in our daily diet, and papaya is a great way to consume it. Papaya is also a good source of vitamin A and E, folate, copper, magnesium, and potassium. And it has enzymes that help your digestion.
3. Papaya Has Carotenoids
Carotenoids are natural pigments that give vegetables and some fruits an orange hue. In our systems, carotenoids are potent antioxidants, and others, like beta-carotene, become vitamin A.
Carotenes contribute to eye and cardiovascular health, and they might prevent some types of cancer. Medical studies suggest carotenoids can lower lung cancer risk, for example. Along with yams, carrots, cantaloupes and mangoes, papayas are among the best carotene sources globally.
Add Papaya to Your Diet Today
Papayas are among the most accessible superfoods to add to your diet. For starters, they’re more readily available than many other superfoods, usually only found in remote corners of the earth. On the other hand, papayas are delicious, and that alone is an excellent reason to enjoy them often.
If you can’t find fresh papaya, there are many papaya-based supplements in the market, and they’re all as effective as consuming the fresh fruit. Dehydrated papaya, for example, is even more concentrated; so compared to fresh fruit, it offers more nutrients gram-for-gram. Try it!