Did you know that Christopher Columbus referred to the papaya as, “the fruit of the angels”? The reason for this is most likely because of some of the very unique and varied health benefits of papaya. Just like most fruits and vegetables, papaya is full of a variety of nutrients, most notably vitamin C. The health benefits of papaya are numerous and you might better understand why Christopher Columbus had such high regard for it.
Although oranges have managed to earn the title of the vitamin C king, Papaya actually contains over 300% of the recommended daily value of this immune supporting, anti-aging essential vitamin, as opposed to oranges, which “only” contain a little over 100%. Many papaya health benefits also come from its high concentration of vitamin E, which can help to preserve cardiovascular health, and vitamin A, which can help to maintain healthy skin, teeth, and nails.
Papaya and Heart Health
Some studies have shown that eating papaya helps in the prevention of heart disease and hardening of the arteries because of its role in decreasing the amount of cholesterol in your blood. It can also help minimize the oxidation of cholesterol, which prevents it from building up on the blood vessels walls and causing dangerous plaques to form that can cause heart attacks. The way this works is that once cholesterol oxides, it is capable of building up in the blood vessels, and an accumulation of cholesterol is one of the primary causes of heart attacks and strokes.
Outside of supporting a healthy immune system and some healthy heart related benefits, one of the many papaya health benefits is also that papaya is high in folic acid, which, for women of childbearing age, can prevent a wide variety of birth defects.
Papaya and Digestion
Despite the fact that yogurt and other probiotic supplements are often touted as the be-all, end-all way to support a healthy digestive system, one of the many papaya benefits is its ability to flush out the digestive tract, making it easier for your body to process the other foods you eat. This can not only aid in weight loss, but also help to prevent colon cancer, as the buildup of foods in the digestive tract can promote the retention of toxins that cause this type of cancer.
One of the more important papaya health benefits comes from enzymes. Even fresh papaya juice is a great source of the digestive enzyme Papain. Papaya enzyme benefits include assisting with digestion of protein and can help with indigestion. Papaya is sometimes credited with helping to prevent and treat many gastrointestinal tract disorders and intestinal parasite infections. It is a healthy source of fiber, and among the many benefits of fiber includes the role it may play in preventing colon cancer and decreasing levels of the bad LDL cholesterol.
Papaya and Inflammation
One of the more important health benefits of papaya also comes from the papain enzyme because of its ability to reduce inflammation, which can make just about anyone feel better, although is especially beneficial to those suffering from inflammatory diseases such as asthma and arthritis, as well as healing wounds and burns. Papaya also contains many antioxidant nutrients that help reduce inflammation in addition to the papain.
So don’t be afraid to indulge in this sweet delicious fruit, because in addition to providing several essential nutrients, it is also naturally low in calories and fat. Truly, there are many excellent health benefits you can get from eating papaya. Enjoy it alone, or add it to a healthy fruit salad for a yummy treat.
Papaya is a great tropical fruit and there are many papaya smoothie recipes you can easily make to incorporate some of the amazing papaya health benefits into your diet.