Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like papayas decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality, diabetes, heart disease and promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, overall lower weight.
Age-related macular degeneration: The antioxidant zeaxanthin, found in papaya, filters out harmful blue light rays and is thought to play a protective role in eye health and possibly ward off damage from macular degeneration.1 A higher intake of all fruits (3 or more servings per day) has also been shown to decrease risk of and progression of age-related macular degeneration.
Asthma prevention: The risks for developing asthma are lower in people who consume a high amount of certain nutrients. One of these nutrients is beta-carotene, contained in foods like papaya, apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, pumpkin and carrots.
Cancer: Consumption of the powerful antioxidant beta-carotene (found in papayas) has been shown to have an inverse association with the development of colon cancer in the Japanese population.8
Among younger men, diets rich in beta-carotene may play a protective role against prostate cancer, according to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition.9
Bone health: Low intakes of vitamin K have been associated with a higher risk for bone fracture. Adequate vitamin K consumption is important for good health, as it acts as a modifier of bone matrix proteins, improves calcium absorption and may reduce urinary excretion of calcium.5
Diabetes: Studies have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. One medium papaya provides about 4.7 grams of fiber.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21-25 g/day for women and 30-38 g/day for men.
Digestion: Papayas contain an enzyme called papain that aids in digestion and can also be used as a meat tenderizer.
Papaya is also high in fiber and water content, both of which help to prevent constipation and promote regularity and a healthy digestive tract.
Heart disease: The fiber, potassium and vitamin content in papaya all help to ward off heart disease. An increase in potassium intake along with a decrease in sodium intake is the most important dietary change that a person can make to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease.
Inflammation: The choline is a very important and versatile nutrient in papayas that aids our bodies in sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.6