It’s not easy to find someone putting papaya in a grocery cart. Most people don’t like it simply because it does not please the palette like other fruits such as oranges, bananas, apples, grapes and berries to name a few.
Papaya may not be the most delicious fruit around but it is packed with lots of nutrients that will definitely have an impact on your body. Papaya is a tropical fruit that has a yellow-orange color. The fruit belongs to the family Caricaceae. The fruit is round and plump and it comes in different sizes.
A ripe and an unripe papaya normally taste differently. A ripe papaya is delicious with a flavor that’s close to a watermelon. On the other hand, an unripe papaya has very little to no flavor. The papaya originated from South America and Mexico. It was later brought by indigenous people to the Caribbean and finally made its way to the Pacific Islands, Europe and Hawaii.
Today, Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. that produces papaya for commercial purposes. Generally, Mexican papayas are normally bigger than those produced in Hawaii. However, both have similar effects on the body. So, what are the health benefits of papaya?
1. Reduces The Risk Of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a disease that kills active brain cells thus leading to memory problems and reduced intellectual abilities. The cause of this dangerous disease is not known. However, experts have reported that oxidative stress is among the top causes of this disease. The imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body leads to cell damage.
Recent research conducted by health experts found that fermented papaya powder reduced the effects of oxidative stress in people who had this disease and slowed down its progress. People with Alzheimer’s disease should definitely go for this fruit.
2. Prevents Certain Types Of Cancer
Cancer is mainly caused by oxidative stress and free radicals. Papayas are loaded with antioxidants which protect the cells from being damaged and reduce the risk of cancer.
Papaya is packed with the ingredient lycopene which has shown anti-cancer properties. Lycopene is a natural pigment that gives a number of fruits and vegetables their color. Also, papaya contains beta-carotene which reduces the risk of prostate cancer.
3. Lowers Blood Sugar
Papaya is great fruit for people with type-2 diabetes who are looking for natural ways to reduce their blood sugar levels. Several studies have shown that papaya has a hypoglycemic effect on the body thus decreasing the glucose levels in blood.
4. Fights Inflammation
Papaya is a natural painkiller. The enzyme papain is responsible for increasing the production of cytokines in the body. Cytokines are protein groups which help in regulating inflammation in the body. Papaya is known to reduce pain caused by arthritis and other conditions.
5. Protects The Eyes
Papaya is rich in lutein, vitamin C, zeaxanthin and vitamin E, which protects the eyes and prevents common eye diseases caused by aging. Zeaxanthin and lutein are the two major antioxidants used by the eyes.
6. Improves Heart Health
Consuming papaya on a regular basis will boost the health of your heart. Research findings show that papaya prevents heart diseases due to its high concentration in vitamin C and lycopene. As we said earlier, papaya is rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants protect the heart and improve the protective effects of good HDL cholesterol.
7. Protects The Skin
Apart from keeping you fit, papaya will make your skin youthful and toned. Health experts believe that free radicals are responsible for wrinkling and sagging of the skin which mainly affects older people.
Lycopene and vitamin C found in papaya fruit protects the skin and reduces the signs of aging on the skin. Recent study findings have shown that lycopene drastically reduced skin redness after exposure to the sun in 10 to 12 weeks.
Also, older women who consumed vitamin C, lycopene and other antioxidants for 14 weeks had a visible reduction in the depth of wrinkles on their faces.
Selecting And Storing Papaya
Since papayas are mainly produced in Mexico and Hawaii, you likely find them in your local grocery store all year. Just because papaya is available every time does not mean that every selection will be perfect. You should always go for delicious papayas. This means purchasing ripe papayas only or holding the fruit long enough until it ripens.
You can always tell if a papaya fruit is ripe or unripe. Ripe papayas are usually yellow or orange. Unripe papayas usually have a yellow-green mixture. You should avoid buying an overly ripe papaya unless you want to blend it.
If you buy unripe papayas, they should ripen in a couple of days. A good papaya has very little or no blemishes. Once your fruit is ripe, store it in the refrigerator to reduce the ripening process.
Papaya is an amazing fruit that is packed with lots of valuable nutrients. Although it doesn’t please the palette like most fruits, its health benefits cannot be ignored.
The fruit is rich in antioxidants such as lycopene which reduces the risk of several diseases that mostly affect the elderly, cancer and heart diseases. It also boosts the immune system, reduces the signs of aging and promotes a gentle, youthful skin. You should definitely start adding this healthy fruit to your diet now.
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Scott Matthews is a professional editor and writer for custom essay papers and Essayninja. He loves sharing his insightful thoughts and opinions about health and fitness on best assignment help and Best dissertation. During his leisure time, you’ll find him mentoring college students on Assignment Masters or playing with his two lovely dogs.