Papaya Benefits for Skin, Eyes, Digestion and Cardiovascular Health
There are many papaya benefits for your health and this beautiful tropical fruit is proof that nutritious food can also taste great as well.
Papaya, also known as papaw and pawpaw around the world, is a rich source of antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and special digestive enzymes that have a remarkable effect both internally and externally.
If you’d like to improve your skin, relieve digestion problems, protect your eyes and heart then consider the many benefits of eating papaya.
1. Skin Protection
Ripe papaya is a good source of antioxidant vitamin C, vitamin E and carotenoids like beta-carotene and lycopene. These nutrients help protect your skin against free radical damage that leads to wrinkles and other visible signs of aging.
The enzyme papain, found in the flesh and skin of papaya fruit, breaks down dead skin cells and helps promote skin renewal when used topically on your face or body.
Papaya facial treatments are a popular way to improve your skin’s texture, elasticity and appearance. They may also help with wound healing and burns and even assist in the treatment of skin problems like acne, blemishes and age spots.
2. Improves Digestion
Papain enzymes in papaya, and especially the green fruit, can improve digestion by breaking down proteins into their individual amino acids. Papain is so good at breaking down protein it’s used as a meat tenderizer commercially.
Undigested proteins can lead to many issues, such as gastrointestinal problems, autoimmune disorders, inflammation throughout the body and an overgrowth of gas causing bacteria in the colon.
If you can’t find the fresh fruit then green papaya enzyme rich capsule like these are convenient to take with any protein meal.
There is much more on how papaya can benefit your digestive health in the page on how papain enzymes improve digestion.
3. Cardiovascular Protective
Cholesterol oxidation can lead to arteries blocked with plaque and serious cardiovascular problems.
Increasing your intake of these antioxidants with papaya may improve blood flow to the heart and reduce your risk of developing circulatory disease.
Papaya is also good source of folate which controls homocysteine levels in the bloodstream. High levels of homocysteine in the blood is known to damage blood vessels and is a common marker that cardiologists look out for.
Additionally, the beneficial fiber in papaya can lower undesirable LDL cholesterol levels in the blood by inhibiting its absorption during digestion. Yet another way this fruit helps protect your heart.
4. Good for Your Eyes
Alongside their antioxidant properties, carotenoids like the beta-carotene found in papaya can be converted into vitamin A, particularly important for healthy eyes and vision.
Papaya fruit also offers good levels of two special compounds called lutein and zeaxanthin. Known as xanthophylls, these phytonutrients are concentrated in the macular region of your eyes.
Here they provide protection against both UV and high energy blue light that can damage your eye’s retinas and are involved in fine detail perception.
Research suggests a good intake of both zeaxanthin and lutein can significantly reduce your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the most common cause of blindness in America.
The high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in foods like papaya may also protect against developing cataracts, glaucoma, and other chronic eye diseases.
Many people also report an improvement in visual acuity and color perception with high doses of lutein and zeaxanthin in supplements derived from natural sources.
If you rely heavily on your eyes for long periods, particularly for detecting fine details like reading the words on a computer screen all day long, then an extra daily intake of lutein and particularly zeaxanthin may help significantly.
While I eat a lot of xanthophyll rich foods, I’ve still personally noticed much less eye strain when working for long periods on my laptop since I started taking these high strength zeaxanthin and lutein capsules made from marigold flowers.
Ideally, they should be taken with a meal containing beneficial fats to enhance their absorption as well. With breakfast eggs or avocado is a particularly good time.
How to Choose Papayas
It’s recommended to choose a large papaya that’s just turning yellowish orange and still has areas of green on the skin.
These fruits, while not yet fully ripened, have the highest papain enzyme content and the most number of seeds. Much more on the many benefits of papaya seeds here.
If you’re picking a papaya primarily for its digestive enzymes these half green papayas are the healthiest ones to select. They can be used in smoothies and other recipes while not full ripe.
Enjoy Healthy Papaya Fruit
I hope these papaya benefits have given you good reasons to eat it more often. If so, the next page on eating papaya has many ways to include more of this great tasting and very nutritious fruit into your daily diet.
Do you enjoy papayas regularly and how do you like to have it? I personally find it to be both a great breakfast to start the day with and good for dessert after a big protein meal.
I’d be interested to hear any questions you might have on the positive effects of adding papaya to your diet in the comments below.