Papaya is one of the most over-looked fruit in my opinion. Especially considering the healing properties of papaya are some of the greatest in the plant-food world.
From helping support the heart to improving digestion and repairing our muscles, papaya is a fruit you should always have in store.
Blend it in smoothies, chop it up in salads, or simply eat it on its own for breakfast. Make sure you wait until it is generally soft to touch, and yellow/orange on the outside before consuming. Hard, green papayas are not ripe and will cause havoc on your digestion (not to mention, it will taste horrible, too!).
1. Cardiovascular System Support
Papaya is loaded with vitamins A and C, both of which help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. When cholesterol becomes oxidized, it sticks and builds up in blood vessel walls, forming plaques that trigger heart attacks and strokes. They are also an excellent source of fibre, which helps lower high cholesterol levels, and reduces cardiovascular disease risk.
2. Wound Healing
The skin of papaya is useful in the treatment of wounds, mainly because this is where the highest concentration of papain exists. It has been used to heal wounds, burns, rashes and bug stings. The University of Minnesota Medical Center states that papain is a “debriding agent, and is used on wounds to remove dead tissue and improve healing.”
3. Muscle Tissue Renewal
Papaya is incredibly rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals that help encourage renewal of muscle tissue. The anti-inflammatory properties of papaya also help speed up post-workout recovery, and boost muscle healing time and muscle growth.
Papaya is naturally energizing and contains high soluble fibre, thus slowing down sugar absorption and helping to control blood sugar levels. It helps revitalize the body, by getting rid of toxic matter in the digestive tract, and makes way for new vibrant energy and vitality. They are quick digesting, so you won’t feel sluggish after consumption (compared to protein and fat-heavy foods that leave you feeling bloated and tired).
5. Eye Health
The high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in papaya provide protection to the macular region of your eyes, protecting it from UV and high energy blue light. These phytonutrients also reduce your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. Beta-carotene in papaya is also incredibly important for healthy eyes and protects against night blindness.
Papaya acts as an excellent anti-inflammatory. The protein-digesting enzymes in papaya called papain and chymopapain help lower inflammation and improve burn healing. Vitamin C and beta-carotene (both highly concentrated in papaya) are also great for those suffering from arthritis and asthma, two diseases that are worsened by inflammation.
7. Assists with Respiratory Issues
Regularly eating papaya helps reduce lung inflammation from frequent exposure to smoke or second-hand smoke. It also helps lower the risk of developing emphysema in those who smoke.
8. Digestive Support
The digestive enzyme papain in papaya helps alleviate nausea (especially in those suffering from morning sickness) and improves digestion. The fibre in papaya is also great for getting rid of constipation and is able to bind to cancer-causing toxins in the colon, expelling them before they reach contact with healthy cells.
9. Expels Parasites
Papaya seeds are some of the best parasite-eliminators out there. They are peppery in flavour and slightly bitter. The seeds have anti-helminthic and anti-amoebic properties, meaning they kill intestinal worms and other parasitic organisms in the digestive system.
10. Full of Beneficial Enzymes
The fruit of papaya contains a beneficial enzyme called papain, which helps digest proteins and acts as a great digestive enzyme when consuming other foods that are protein-heavy (like beans, or animal products).