Papaya: Health Benefits and Nutrition

Papayas are fleshy orange fruits native to the South America region. You might know them for their faintly sweet flesh, or its prevalence in the jellies, sauces, and curries of Southeast Asia. However, the papaya is more than a delicious snack. It has a multitude of health benefits for the bodies of the average citizen.

Most notable among these health benefits is what the papaya can do for your skin. It is rich in antioxidants, which are powerful compounds that fight against the free radicals in your body, harmful and toxic agents which, if they build up, can cause cancerous growth or disease. Vitamin C, carotene, and flavonoids—all powerful antioxidants that can reverse the degeneration of skin as it ages. Additionally, this exotic fruit can have a revitalizing effect on skin that has been damaged by too much exposure to ultraviolet rays. Recently, papaya—along with the multitude of essential vitamins and enzymes contained in its flesh—has become a popular ingredient in skin products, such as moisturizing lotions and creams, for its healing properties.

The papaya also contains compounds which can be helpful for digestion. In addition to containing an extraordinarily high level of dietary fiber, which is necessary to the colon for proper digestion and bowel movement, the flesh of the papaya is also home to enzymes called papain and chymopapain which aid digestion by breaking down ingested proteins into their fundamental amino acids. The vitamins and minerals in the papaya can also increase one’s immune health. With high amounts of vitamin C, a vitamin which improves the overall health of white blood cells, eating papaya on a regular basis can help boost the strength of your immune system. With the high levels of vitamin A and vitamin E as well, papayas are great for heart health, since these antioxidants target the oxidation of cholesterol in the main arteries of your body and ultimately prevent against stroke or heart disease. Additionally, healthy amounts of folic acid help convert homocysteine into the more benign cysteine and methionine, thereby preventing damage to blood vessel walls.

With healthy servings of essential vitamins and minerals as well as a boost in immune health and digestive aid, papayas are a perfect snack whenever anyone’s feeling run down or under the weather. On top of the plethora of health benefits this exotic fruit can offer, it is also delicious and growing more popular every day.

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