Papayas are delicious fruits with many health benefits. The fruit is native to Central America, but today, the fruit grows around the world. The fruit is cylindrically shaped or spherical. Papayas begin to ripen when they appear about 50% yellow and 50% green. Slicing ripe papaya in half will display its juicy orange inside and black seeds in its center. You can eat the fruit raw only when ripe. Before eating unripe papaya, you must cook it. Pregnant women can enjoy health benefits from ripe papayas but should not consume unripe papayas because the fruit can stimulate contractions. For safety purposes, experts suggest pregnant women only eat fully-yellow ripe papayas and avoid unripe or semi-ripe papayas.
What are the health benefits of papayas?
Papayas hold many nutrients. Among those nutrients, papayas house significant amounts of vitamins A and C, folate (vitamin B9), and potassium. There are also small amounts of calcium, magnesium, and vitamins B1, B3, B5, E, and K. Also, significant amounts of lycopene are present in papayas, including 2,870 micrograms in one small-sized fruit. Research suggests that fruit high in this antioxidant may prevent heart disease. The potassium, magnesium, and pantothenic acid in papayas can also benefit cardiovascular health. Another study demonstrated that those who digested fermented papaya supplements for 14 weeks suffered less inflammation and achieved a better ratio of bad cholesterol to good cholesterol than other participants given placebos.
For those battling constipation or irritable bowel syndrome, eating papaya may provide relief. Researchers Muss, Mosgoeller, and Endler found that people who consumed a papaya-based mixture for 40 days showed substantial recovery from constipation and bloating.
Can eating papayas help your skin, eyes, and hair?
Papaya can also keep your skin healthy and protect your vision. The large amounts of vitamin C in papayas contribute to skin protection. Vitamin C is necessary to form collagen, the skin-repairing protein in your body. Getting adequate amounts of vitamin C in your daily food can help repair wounds.
You have probably heard that eating carrots is a great way to maintain optimum eye health. Did you know that papaya is more beneficial to your eyes than carrots? Papayas contain Vitamin A, the beta carotene in fruits, vegetables, and other foods. A 2013 Cambridge University study discovered that the beta carotene in papaya is more easily absorbed into the human body than the beta carotene in carrots and tomatoes. The vitamin A in papaya can also stimulate hair growth and naturally moisturize your hair.
Can you eat papaya seeds?
Yes, the black papaya seeds are edible. Researchers have found eating papaya seeds protects kidney health and may prevent cancer.
It is important to note that overeating papaya or its seeds can produce negative side effects. Over-eating the delicious fruit or its seeds can result in diarrhea or an upset stomach. Experts recommend consuming only one teaspoon of papaya seeds per day. The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides the nutritional information for one cup of one-inch pieces of papaya, so that is a good place to start if you are new to eating the tasty fruit.
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