What’s the health benefit of including Papayas in our diet?
Papayas are pear shaped fruits with a delicious sweet taste. These exotic fruits are available throughout the year
Papayas offers numerous health benefits. It is a fruit known for its digestive, nutritional and medicinal qualities. This nutritional fruit is often referred to as ‘fruits of angel‘. In Kerala it is called as ‘Kappalanga‘ (കപ്പളങ്ങ). Papaya plants are believed to have originated in Central America and Southern Mexico. Papaya fruits are used as a flavoring agent and used in the making of candies, preserves, jellies and ice creams. Unripe fruits are often used as a vegetable for cooking. Small cuts on the surface of unripe fruits can cause a latex or a milky sap to ooze and it is collected as dried and termed as “crude papain”.
Papaya plants are mainly grown in tropical regions for its sweet fruits and a latex called by papain. Each papaya fruit has an average length of 7 inches. Orange coloured flesh beneath the skin has a slight shade of pink or yellow colour.
Apart from the fruits, other parts of this plants are also known for its medicinal qualities. A dietary enzyme called Papain extracted from the tree as well as the fruits are often used for the making dietary supplements. Papain is also used as a major ingredient in chewings gums.
Health benefits of papaya is due to the presence of enzymes, antioxidants, nutrients and vitamins. Let’s have a detailed look at some of the health benefits of papaya fruits.
Nowadays people find it hard to avoid the intake of foods that are not good for the digestive system. Higher percentage of junk food in our diet results in the consumption of excessive quantities of oil. Including papaya fruits in your diet can have a soothing effect on your body. The presence of digestive enzyme called papain as well as the dietary fibres can improve the digestive health. The enzyme presence in papaya helps with the breakdown of proteins into amino acids. The presence of undigested proteins can cause gastrointestinal problems. Due to the powerful protein breakdown qualities, these enzymes are also used in meat tenderizer.
Effective in skin protection
The presence of free radicals in the skin results in wrinkles and other visible signs of aging. The intake of papaya can have a positive effect against free radicals which causes skin damage. It has high percentage of antioxidants, vitamins and carotenoids like lycopene and beta-carotene. These nutrients will help to protect the skin from various ailments. The papain presence in papaya also helps with the breakdown of dead skin cells and promotes the renewal of skin cells and tissues. Skin texture and appearance can be improved with papaya facial and external treatments.
Reduces high cholesterol levels
Complete arterial blockage can be caused with increase of blood cholesterol levels and this intern can lead to cardiac arrests. High concentration of vitamin C, fibre and antioxidants in papaya helps with the prevention of cholesterol build up in the arteries. Papaya consumption can also prevent the diabetic heart diseases and atherosclerosis.
Oxidation of cholesterol can be one of the main causes for strokes and heart attacks. Consumption of papayas can help with the prevention of oxidation of cholesterol as it is a natural source of antioxidants like vitamin A, E and C. Intake of papaya can also be beneficial in improving the blood flow and thus reduces the risk of developing cardiac diseases. Increase in homocysteine levels can trigger cardiovascular diseases. The folate presence in papaya helps with the control of homocysteine levels in the bloodstream.
Known to have cancer resistant power
Nutritional dietary food habits can aid the body’s natural defences in fighting cancer. Studies have shown that the higher nutritional presence in papaya can lower the risk of cancer. Antioxidants present in papaya such as beta-carotene, lycopene and the lesser known carotenoid, beta-cryptoxanthin can have a positive effect in the attack against cancer. Having papaya fruits in your diet can leave the cancerous cells susceptible against immune system, which in turn can restrict the spreading of cancerous cells.