Referred to as “the fruit of the angels” by Christopher Columbus, papaya is chock-full of essential nutrients and minerals. Rich in vitamin C, one cup of papaya provides almost 400% of the recommended daily value. This high antioxidant fruit also contains a good deal of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. Why this is important? Beta-carotene has been shown to help prevent mouth and lung cancer. Papaya also provides a good amount of folate and other B vitamins such as B6 and pantothenic acid, along with potassium. Papaya is also a good source of fiber and minerals such as magnesium. Together, these nutrients help improve cardiovascular health, as well as protecting against colon cancer.
If that weren’t enough…
Here’s a Shortlist of Papaya’s Health Benefits According to Ayurveda:
- Aids in digestion. Papaya contains the protein called papain which is a digestive enzyme that helps in the digestion process. Papaya cleans the stomach. Studies have shown that papaya eaten alone for 3 to 4 days has a highly beneficial tonic effect upon the stomach and intestines.
- Has been shown to aid in regulating menstruation. Raw papaya helps in reducing menstrual irregularities for women. Papaya helps to ease the condition by promoting natural flow of menstruation.
- Promotes weight loss. Papaya is low in calories and high in nutritive value, thus it is an excellent food for those on a diet.
- Provides relief from inflamed tonsils. The milk of raw papaya has anti-infective and anti-toxic properties. In cases of tonsillitis, the milk of raw papaya can be placed onto inflamed tonsils for relief. (Same goes for relief from mouth and tongue ulcers).
- Has anticancer properties. Consuming the antioxidant beta-carotene, found in papayas, may reduce cancer risk.
- Helps in skin care. The skin of papaya is excellent for treating skin wounds and places that do not heal quickly. The vitamin C and lycopene present in papaya has also been shown to protect skin and may help reduce the signs of aging. To eliminate blemishes, make a paste of raw papaya and apply it to the face, wait for 20 minutes and rinse off. It will leave your skin glowing, as well as eliminate those unwanted blemishes.
- Helps with hair health. Papaya is great for hair because it contains vitamin A, a nutrient required for sebum production, which keeps hair moisturized. Vitamin A is also necessary for the growth of all bodily tissues, including skin and hair.
- Improves heart health. The fiber, potassium, and rich vitamin content present in papaya can help to ward off heart disease.
- Has anti-inflammatory effects. The anti-inflammatory properties present in papaya can help reduce pain for those suffering from arthritis, edema and osteoporosis.
- Good for fighting macular degeneration
- Improves overall immunity. The high concentration of vitamin C and vitamin A contained in papaya is very beneficial in strengthening the immune system.
Papaya Fun Fact: Papain from papaya is used as one of the ingredients found in some chewing gum.
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