Papaya Benefits: Better Eyesight, Skin Protection and Improved Digestion
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 enhance your vision, 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, inflammation throughout the body and an overgrowth of gas causing bacteria in the colon.
There is much more on how papaya can benefit your digestive health in the page on how papaya enzymes improve digestion.
3. 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 studies show 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 disorders.
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.
How to Choose a Good Papaya
It’s recommended to choose a large papaya that’s just turning yellowish orange and still has areas of green visible 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. They are also particularly good as a parasite treatment.
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.
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.
Wonderful discovery of potentials for a fruit so Common and so undervalued, and wasting in our backyards! But among the various species, which is the best?