Enjoy These 7 Best Benefits of Eating Papaya

Indulge in this delicious and nutritious tropical fruit this summer.

Fresh papaya that is ready to eat.

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Papaya is a sweet-tasting tropical fruit that is in peak season during the summer months. It has an orange-colored flesh and black seeds that are edible. This delicious fruit, also known as papaw,  is commonly grown in Mexico, South America and in the US, in Hawaii and Puerto Rico, according to Eating Well.

You can eat ripe papaya raw but unripe fruit must be cooked before consumed. Besides being a beautiful addition to any fruit salad or smoothie, papaya comes with a host of health benefits. Here are seven reasons to add this tropical fruit to your diet.

Packed full of Nutrients

Papaya is high in vitamin C – one serving actually contains 157 percent of the daily recommended amount –, vitamin A, folate, as well as the mineral potassium, according to Healthline. The tropical fruit also contains 3 grams of fiber.

One of the best benefits of eating papaya is that it is packed with healthy antioxidants Including lycopene. Antioxidants can combat oxidative stress that could lead to  chronic diseases like diabetes and some cancers.

Contains Anti-Cancer Properties

The lycopene and vitamin C – powerful antioxidants that help prevent the free radicals that can damage cells – in papaya could help reduce your cancer risk,  according to Eating Well. A review of studies published in Antioxidants found that a diet rich in vitamin C could reduce the risk of pulmonary and breast cancer and could help in the treatment of other cancers. Eating papaya is recommended for people who are undergoing cancer treatments.

Drink this papaya smoothie for health benefits.

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Promotes Heart Health

Eating papaya may be good for heart health due to its high content of lycopene. The antioxidant could protect your heart by enhancing the effects of HDL, the good cholesterol. The high fiber, potassium, and vitamin content also helps to promote heart health by preventing oxidation of cholesterol and plaque buildup on the walls of arteries which increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, according to a blog on the Terra Bella Senior Living website.

May Reduce Inflammation

The tropical fruit also contains the plant enzymes papain and chymopapain, powerful antioxidants  that have anti-inflammatory properties for chronic conditions like arthritis. A study published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences found that eating fruits rich in antioxidants helped reduce inflammatory markers in the participants.

Fresh tropical fruit salad is full of antioxidants.

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Helps Boost Your Immune System

Rich in vitamins C and A, papaya could also help boost your immune system and help fend off illnesses, according to Eating Well. These antioxidants can also help wounds to heal faster and encourage collagen production. Collagen is essential for healthy nails, skin, and hair.

Promotes Gut Health

The papain contained in papaya aids in making protein easier to digest, according to Healthline. In fact, people living in the tropics have used the fruit as a natural remedy for constipation and for the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. The plant has also been used to treat ulcers.

Papaya grows in tropical places.

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Good for Diabetics

Consuming a high fiber fruit – like papaya– could lower blood sugar levels in people with type 1 diabetes, according to Medical News Today. And people with type 2 diabetes may have improved blood sugar and insulin levels. One small papaya contains 3 grams of fiber.