Typically we associate papaya with a tropical wonderland… But it’s time to start looking at this fruit as more than just a pretty face. It’s packed with cancer-fighting properties and has some serious health benefits! Here are 5 reasons you should snack on a papaya today:
Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk
The intense orangey-pink color of papaya means it is chock full of cancer fighting carotenoids. Not only beta carotene, but lycopene is found in abundance. The construction of lycopene makes it highly reactive toward oxygen and free radicals. Scientists at the University of Illinois think this anti-oxidant activity contributes to its effectiveness as a cancer fighting agent. Epidemiological studies have indicated an inverse relationship between lycopene intake and prostate cancer risk. They showed that oral lycopene is highly bioavailable, accumulates in prostate tissue, and is localized in the nucleus of prostate epithelial cells.
Protect Against Heart Disease
Papaya is rich in vitamin C and vitamin A, both of which are powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. Only oxidized cholesterol can stick to the walls of blood vessels, which if in the wrong places, can lead to heart attack or stroke. Additionally, papaya is a great source of fiber, which can actually help lower high cholesterol levels.
Support Digestive Health
Again, as it is rich in fiber, papaya help keep everything in the digestive tract moving smoothly. However, papaya also contains nutrients that have been shown to help prevent colon cancer. The fiber in papaya can bind to toxins in the colon and prevent these toxins from interacting with healthy colon cells. Additionally, papaya contains vitamin E, beta-carotene, folate, and vitamin C, all of which have been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Papaya contains a number of enzymes the two most prominent of which are known as papain and chymopapain. These enzymes have powerful anti-inflammatory effects, which is great for overall health and is especially helpful for managing conditions worsened by inflammation. The severity of conditions like asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis can be reduced when the individual consumes these enzymes. Papaya also contains other anti-inflammatory nutrients like beta-carotene and vitamin C.
With vitamin C, vitamin A, and beta-carotene, papaya offers a great immunity boost. Eating the fruit can help fend off nasty colds, ear infections, and flus surfers are prone to while traveling.