Rightly called as “fruit of the angels”, papaya was once an exotic fruit but is now available in the market in any season throughout the year. The spherical-pear-shaped, deliciously sweet, buttery-soft and bright fruit does not need any more reasons to get a place at your plate. But there are some amazing health benefits of papaya which encourage you to include this delicacy in your diet as often as possible.
This tropical fruit is a rich source of vitamin B and C, flavonoids, carotenes, folate and pantothenic acid. It is also packed with minerals like copper, potassium and magnesium. All of these substances help improve your health in several ways. In addition to this, papaya also contains an digestive enzyme named papain, which is widely used to treat causes of trauma, allergies and other injuries.
Take a look at these 10 amazing benefits papaya and consider including it in your diet:
1. It improves digestion and helps you lose weight
Eating papayas can actually help you hang on to your new year’s resolution to lose weight as it is packed with the digestive enzyme named papain and fibre which improve digestion. Also, a medium-sized papaya contains only 120 calories in average. That means you can lose weight while eating this delicious fruit all the way.
2. It lowers cholesterol
As papaya is a great source of fibre, antioxidants as well as vitamin C, eating the fruit can prevent cholesterol from building up in your arteries. With lower level of cholesterol, you are less prone to heart diseases and this means you can add a bowl of diced papaya in your daily diet and get away from heart related diseases in a delicious way.
3. It boosts immunity
Being rich in vitamin C, papaya provides more than double amount of your recommended daily vitamin C intake. This means your immune system that shields your body against all kinds of infections is stronger than ever with the daily consumption of papaya.
4. It is good for diabetics
Despite being sweet in taste, papaya has low sugar content and low glycemic index, which makes it excellent for diabetes patients. Being rich in phyto-nutrients and vitamins, papaya also helps reduce the risk of heart diseases for diabetics and protect our hearts.
5. It keeps your eyes healthy
Containing an abundance amount of flavonoids including cyptoxanthin, zeaxanthin and lutein as well as vitamin A, papaya prevents macular degeneration caused by ageing and protects your eyes from possible damages.
6. It prevents signs of ageing
As much as you hate the thought of showing signs of ageing, you may consider adding papayas to your daily diet to prevent them from appearing on your face. Eating papayas fights readily against female hair loss and as mentioned earlier, the antioxidants and flavonoids prevent radical damage in the cells and make your skin look younger with every bite.
7. It protects against prostate and colon cancer
According to a study conducted by Harvard School of Public Health’s department, beta carotene in papaya was found to be effective in suppressing the growth of colon cancer as well as prostate cancer. Also, the antioxidants and flavonoids present in papaya prevent radical damage in the cells and helps reduce the risk of cancers.
8. It eases menstrual pain
If you are a woman who struggles with menstrual pain every month, you have a new reason to include papayas in your diet as an enzyme found in papaya called papain helps in regulating an easy flow during menstruation.
9. It reduces stress
Reward yourself with a papaya fruit at the end of your long and tiring day as papayas help to reduce your stress with its richness in vitamin C that has been proven to keep your stress hormones in the low side.
10. It protects you against arthritis
Papaya has strong anti-inflammatory properties and is rich in vitamin C. So it is good at strengthening your bones and protecting you against arthritis.
How can we include papayas in our diet?
Now that you know the amazing benefits of papaya, there are some refreshing recipes with papayas as the main ingredient you may want to try in your kitchen. Although you can always eat the papaya fruit only by peeling and seeding it, you can use these recipes to make your encounters with papayas more interesting and appealing.
1. Seared Scallops with Spicy Papaya Sauce
Required: 1 papaya, 1 red bell pepper, ½ red onion, 1 pound sea scallops, fresh cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno peppers, salt, olive oil, all-purpose flour and black pepper
Start with peeling, dicing and seeding papaya, bell pepper, and red onion and mix in a bowl. Take 2 spoons of flour, black pepper and salt in a large seal able bag and add scallops to coat with these ingredients. Cook coated scallops in a skillet until golden and serve with the papaya sauce.
2. Papaya Boats
Required: 2 papayas, 1 cup fresh strawberries, ¼ cup walnuts, ¼ cup raisins, 2 tablespoon honey, 1 cup yogurt
Seed, peel and cut the papayas into half lengthwise. Next, mix yogurt, walnuts, chopped strawberries and raisins in a bowl and pour the mixture in the center of papaya halves. Drizzle honey on top and serve. However, this is not the only way to prepare papaya boats; you can get creative with the ingredients in your own way.
3. Papaya Bruschetta
Required: 1 papaya, 5 plum tomatoes,1/2 red onion and 1 bell pepper all seeded, peeled and diced, vinegar oil, vegetable oil, mustard powder, sugar to taste
This is a great appetizer using the nutritious papaya. All you need to do is peel, seed and dice papaya, tomatoes, red onion and bell pepper to a bowl. Next, blend olive oil, papaya seeds, vinegar oil, mustard powder and green onion to make a smooth thick paste. Pout the paste over the bowl and it is ready to eat.
4. Papaya Smoothie
Required: 1 papaya, 1 banana, ½ cup fresh strawberries, 1/3 cup milk, sugar, ice cubes
If you don’t feel like eating papaya but crave for a detox drink, you can make a smoothie and drink it. Preparing papaya smoothie can be interesting and very easy to those who like their blenders. First, seed, peel and dice the fruits and add to blender along with milk, ice cubes and sugar. Blend till smooth and enjoy your smoothie.
5. Mango Papaya Salsa
Required: 1 Mango, 1 papaya, 1 bell pepper, 1 avocado, ½ sweet onion, balsamic vinegar, fresh cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.
This is one of the easiest twists you can give to papaya in the kitchen. Start with peeling, seeding and dicing papaya, mango, avocado, bell pepper and sweet onion and mix in a medium bowl. Next, add two spoon of chopped fresh cilantro and 2 table spoons of balsamic vinegar to the bowl along with salt and pepper to taste. This can be served as a side dish for chicken and rice.
Featured photo credit: Still AB via shutterstock.com