When Christopher Columbus first came across this tropical fruit, he called it the ‘Fruit of Angels’. The description seems fitting because biting into a piece of papaya is like biting into fragrant, sweetened butter sans the fat.
Papaya is a bright orange fruit, about 7-20 inches long – and every part of the fruit hides a power punch as far as health benefits are concerned. Once considered exotic and unavailable, these days, papayas are available in supermarkets almost round the year.
Health benefits of Papaya
The sun drenched papaya is chock full of healthy compounds. It contains rich supplies of antioxidants like flavonoids and beta carotenes. It is rich in Vitamin C and folic acid. It has an abundant supply of potassium. The fruit also contains good amounts of Vitamins A, E and K. To top it all, papaya is loaded with dietary fiber making it an excellent food to suppress appetite.
Vitamins A, C and E are powerful antioxidants and their combination acts as an effective check against conditions like atherosclerosis. Thus, the papaya is an extremely healthy fruit for the heart. These antioxidants also help in reducing inflammation. That is why a salve made of crushed papaya is useful in healing wounds caused by burns.
Since papaya is rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin A and beta carotene, the intake of papaya could help patients overcome recurring bouts of flu and infections. The anti-inflammatory property of papaya also helps relieve pain in patients suffering from arthritis and osteoporosis.
Consumption of papaya is said to relieve bouts of nausea and morning sickness. Papaya is rich in digestive enzymes, namely papain. Studies have found that papaya has a tonic effect on the stomach and that eating papaya alone for a couple of days can clean the stomach. By cleansing the body of toxins, papaya may protect the body from colon cancer.
The fibrous nature of the fruit is beneficial for digestion and aids regular elimination of waste. High fiber content in papaya makes it beneficial for the heart also. Other compounds in papaya may also act to decrease the risk of strokes and heart attacks significantly.
The outer skin of this luscious fruit is also filled with useful elements, particularly Vitamin A.
Papaya can help regulate the menstrual flow in women.
Papaya has long been one of the best beauty products nature has given us. The papain in papaya dissolves dead cells, which in turn gives a clear complexion, lightens the skin and helps to get rid of acne. The pulp of the fruit has therefore been long used in natural face masks and in the production of several beauty products.
Since papaya is low in calorie content and highly satisfying, it is one of the favored foods for people who want to lose weight.
How to eat papaya
Make it your breakfast fruit of the day.
Drink a glass of papaya juice or make a glass of papaya milk shake.
Add pieces of papaya to fruit salads.
The black seeds have a peppery flavor and may be blended to form salad dressings.
Blend papaya, strawberries and low fat yoghurt to make a smoothie. Garnish with a sprinkling of mint leaves.
Papaya is every bit as wholesome as it is delicious. It is very filling and requires little to no preparation. It is easily available throughout the year and easy to store. In short, it is a power food that richly deserves to be a part of your regular diet plan.