Believed to be used by even Christopher Columbus on his discovery voyage, papaya is known as the angel of fruits. While it is not a taste that most usually enjoy the very first time, it can grow on you slowly and then stick on forever. The raw ones are used in salad and curries, the ripe can be eaten either in solid or liquid form, alone or in combination with other fruits.
Some of the wonderful benefits of papaya are listed below.
- Anti-inflammatory: The various minerals and vitamins (A, B, C, K) in papaya help improve immunity and prevents infections. It also promotes healing of burns and wounds.
- Cholesterol control: The antioxidants, flavonoids and fibre help in cholesterol/plaque accumulation in the arteries. The lipid and triglyceride content can also be reduced with regular consumption of papayas.
- Digestive benefits: The enzyme papain contained in papaya is quite effective in reducing the damage caused by eating junk and oily foods. It helps in breaking down proteins and is, therefore, useful as a home remedy for indigestion. It is also rich in fiber and helps relieve constipation.
- Diabetes: The high fiber content in papaya combined with the low calories (a medium sized fruit contains about 110 calories) is a boon to diabetes patients. They can eat to their full content without feeling guilty of the sugar levels. Some people also consume the flowers (sautéed in oil) to control diabetes.
- Arthritis: The various minerals (potassium, calcium, sodium, and magnesium) in papaya can help keep a check on arthritis and bone and joint pains in the long run.
- Weight loss/ cleansing/ detox: The various minerals and vitamins along with the rich fiber content ensure you get a good detox of the system. Papaya is one of the widely used fruits in people who want to lose weight.
- Antiaging effects: The antioxidants which reduce the rate of inflammation and the multiple vitamins help in looking younger by improving skin, hair, and overall immunity levels.
- Stress buster: Again, the antioxidants and vitamins (C in particular) is a good way to refresh your energy after a long tiring day.
- Anti-cancer effects: The flavonoids, phytonutrients, and antioxidants help to prevent free radical damage which is the main cause of cancer. They also contain beta carotene which helps control prostate and colon cancer.
- Eye health: The beta carotene, vitamin A, and lutein help in improving moisture in the eyes and controlling macular degeneration.
- Hair health: The scalp produces sebum which is rich in vitamin A. Papaya when applied to the scalp gives the same effect as sebum, which keeps the hair shiny, silky, and lustrous. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dietitian-nutritionist.