The papaya is a fruit packed with many health benefits, but the biggest is its digestive enzyme papain. Exclusive to the papaya, papain aids in the digestive processes by breaking down tough protein fibers. It also helps the body to heal wounds and reduce inflammation. Papaya is high in vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, and antioxidants. It contains more vitamin C than an orange, and is beneficial in supporting your immune system. It also contains vitamin A, which is important in red blood cell production.
Papaya also contains essential minerals such as potassium and magnesium that help maintain bone health, fluid regulation and the control of blood pressure. Papaya provides the antioxidants lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, and cryptoxanthin that helps fight free radical damage. Lutein and zeaxanthin help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of age-related vision loss.
Papain is also a powerful pain reduction provider, an effective anti-inflammatory tool against rheumatoid arthritis, joint pain and the cramps associated with a woman’s menstrual cycle.
Papaya is full of folate that helps reduce the oxidation of cholesterol, decreasing the ability of cholesterol to form plaques along the artery walls. It also helps to prevent damage to your cell DNA.
Papaya also makes an excellent addition to a regular detox or cleanse that can further boost immunity and decrease oxidative stress in your body. Fermented papaya fruit can lower blood sugar in people with diabetes, although fresh papaya should only be consumed by diabetics in moderation due to its high fructose content.
Papaya’s high fiber content can improve intestinal health with its ability to break apart amino acids and can help people struggling with low stomach acid who may not be able to tolerate consuming proteins. Digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut, or autoimmune and inflammatory bowel diseases can benefit from adding papaya or a papain or a supplement to their diet.
Allergies to the papaya fruit are rare, but do occur. The papaya plant contains enzymes called chitinases that may cause a reaction if you have an allergy to latex and the foods that contain them. The papaya plant is vulnerable to fungus, which has led to the GMO papaya. Make sure you opt for the organic papaya to get the healthiest version.