Papayas are refreshingly sweet in taste. They are pear-shaped, exotic fruits that are easily find in the market throughout the year.
Enclosing black, rounded gelatinous seeds, the soft, edible orange flesh of papayas are actually nutritious and they offer numerous health benefits. Below are the things you should know about papaya.
Health Benefits of Papaya:
1. Boosts Your Immunity
Your immune system serves as a shield against infections that can make you really sick. Just one papaya can fulfil more than 200% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C. This is great in building a stronger immune system.
2. Diabetes Maintenance
Researches have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume a high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels. Also, type 2 diabetics may have improved lipids, blood sugar and insulin levels. Just one medium papaya provides about 4.7 grams of fiber.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 30-38 g/day for men and 21-25 g/day for women.
3. Improves Digestion
Eating papaya daily can help improve your digestion. This is because papaya contains a digestive enzyme known as papain and fibre, which helps in improving your digestive health.
4. Prevention of Asthma
The risks of developing asthma are lower in individuals who consume high amount of certain nutrients. One of these nutrients is beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is present in apricots, papaya, cantaloupe, broccoli, carrots and pumpkin.
5. Weight Loss
Papayas are good for people who are trying to lose weight naturally. You can have a bowl full of papaya for mid-morning or mid-evening snack, for your health.
6. Improve Heart Health
Did you know that adding more papaya into your diet may be beneficial for your heart? Studies have shown that lycopene and vitamin C-rich fruits may help prevent heart disease.
The antioxidants in papaya may protect your heart and enhance the protective effects of HDL or the good cholesterol.
How to Choose the Best Papaya
You should buy papayas that are yellow in color. Papayas that are hard and green, will not ripen properly.
Halved papaya should smell nice, sweet and not fermented. Slightly green papayas will ripen quickly at room temperature, most especially if you place it in a paper bag.
As the fruit ripens, it will turn from green to yellow. You can place ripe papaya in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. You can keep papaya for up to a week, but it is best to use it within a day or two.
How to Prepare Papaya
Papaya can be eaten raw and sliced in half, with the seeds scooped out. You can also add a little squeeze of lemon to enhance the flavor.
Papaya seeds are usually discarded, but they can also be eaten. They are slightly spicy and can be used as a substitute for pepper in sauces and salad dressings.