Perhaps you're already familiar with the sweet, tangy fruit of the papaya tree. It is the fourth most commonly exported tropical fruit in the world, after all! (source) I first encountered papaya when it was introduced at my local grocery store. I picked it up, despite being unsure what to do with it.
When I got home, I did some research and found out that it can be used in so many different ways - from eating it whole to chopping it up to make a refreshing salad. My personal favourite way to add papaya to my diet, however, is to juice it. Not only is this fruit delicious, but it's nutritious too! Papaya packs some powerful properties for health. Read on to find out more about papaya juice benefits for health.
The papaya is native to Central and South America, but is grown and cultivated throughout the Caribbean Islands, Hawaii, Florida, India, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and several parts of Africa.
The tropical papaya fruit, its leaves, and even its roots are found in multitude of dishes around the world. Ripe papaya is usually eaten raw with the skin or seeds removed. The unripe green fruit is usually consumed cooked. It is commonly found in curries, salads, and stews. Green papaya is popular in Southeast Asian, Thai, and Indonesian cuisine.
The high amount of pectin makes papaya great for sweets or jellies, and in Brazil, the unripe fruits are often used to make desserts and preserves.
The black seeds of the papaya can be ground up and used like pepper. In some parts of Asia, the papaya leaves are steamed and eaten like spinach.
With so many different ways to use and consume the papaya, its popularity has only increased over time. It's in demand not only for its juicy bite, but its many nutritional benefits too.
Papaya Juice Benefits for Health
The papaya is known for being rich in vitamin C and antioxidants - which you might've already known. But studies have also shown the papaya has been effective in aiding digestive issues, maintaining healthy skin, and even protecting against cancer!
Papaya has been used widely for centuries and in folk medicine for many different ailments.
- The juice has been applied on warts, corns, and tumors.
- The root of the papaya has been used to treat hemorrhoids.
- Green papaya is consumed as a mild laxative and "to stimulate lactation, labor, or abortion." (source)
- Papaya leaves have been ground into a poultice for "nervous pains and elephantoid growths," and is even smoked for relieving asthmatic symptoms.
So whether you're enjoying papaya in a smoothie, drinking the juice on its own, or using the fruit in a delicious Thai curry dish, you can rest easy knowing this gorgeous tropical fruit is doing your body good. Here are a few of the health benefits you can look forward to by incorporating more papaya in your diet.
1. Loving Your Skin with Papaya Juice
A serving of papaya contains a significant amount of vitamin C - 75% of the recommended daily value, in fact. This vitamin's antioxidant properties make it "a vital molecule for skin health," according to a 2011 study from Oregon State University. (source)
By incorporating papaya juice into your skin's health care regimen, you're protecting your skin from sun damage and encouraging the production of collagen, which helps to maintain the skin's elasticity - and a youthful appearance.
Traditionally, some Hawaiian cultures have used the papaya as a poultice on the skin, to help heal wounds and reduce scarring. (source)
What we eat and put inside of our bodies has an effect on the outside, so you might consider the papaya and its juice if you're looking for ways to improve and protect your skin.
2. Got Tummy Troubles?
Papaya juice has long been lauded for aiding in digestion. Papaya contains papain, an enzyme which helps to break down protein and digest food. You'll often find dietary supplements that contain papain, and the enzyme can help with digestive disorders like leaky gut or irritable bowel syndrome.
The fibrous fruit of the papaya can help increase your bowel movements as well. Consuming papaya or drinking papaya juice can be a relief for constipation. "The fiber obtained from the fruit helps to increase bowel movements. Improved bowel movements help to ease the passage of stool, thereby reducing the effects of constipation." (source)
3. The Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Papaya
Papaya and the papain enzyme have also been found helpful in reducing inflammation.
Inflammation isn't necessarily a bad thing - it's our body's natural response to damage or pain. Any time you get a scratch, for instance, you'll notice the skin will redden and even swell a bit. This is how our body starts its healing process.
However, excessive or chronic inflammation causes a host of health issues. It's thought to play a role in conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer's disease.
As an enzyme, the papain in papaya helps to regulate the inflammatory response. It "can break up existing pathogenic immune complexes and even prevent their formation in the first place, enhancing lymphatic drainage." (source)
Check our 8 anti-inflammatory juice recipes right here!
4. A Cure for Your Cold
As a rich source of vitamin C, the papaya fruit can be helpful the next time you find yourself with a sniffle.
There is much debate over how effective vitamin C is in preventing a cold. It's noted in one study that, "a vitamin C deficiency results in a reduced resistance against certain pathogens whilst a higher supply enhances several immune system parameters." (source)
In other words, if you're not getting enough vitamin C (and other great antioxidants), you're not supporting your immune system. Boost your vitamin C intake the next time you're feeling under the weather. Eating papaya or drinking its juice can be effective in reducing just how long you're stuck with that cold.
Sore throat? Find a green, unripe papaya and get to juicing. Drinking the unripe juice with honey can help soothe inflamed tissues, and prevents infection from spreading.
5. Cancer Prevention and Papaya
University of Florida researchers found that this tropical fruit has qualities that are capable of fighting cancer.
"University of Florida researcher Nam Dang, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues in Japan have documented papaya's dramatic anticancer effect against a broad range of lab-grown tumors, including cancers of the cervix, breast, liver, lung and pancreas," reports Science Daily.
"The researchers used an extract made from dried papaya leaves, and the anticancer effects were stronger when cells received larger doses of the tea."
While there is still research to be done to elaborate on the results of this study, there is hope that treatments can be developed from the papaya's immunity-boosting qualities. (source)
6. A Brighter, Healthier Smile
Papain is also highly effective at whitening teeth, if you're looking for a natural way to keep your smile bright. Some toothpastes even include the enzyme to help whiten teeth and remove stains gently.
7. Papaya's Antiviral and Antifungal Properties
The leaves of the papaya have been used to treat the dengue fever virus - an infection caused by mosquito bites. A recent study showed that the papaya leaves were significantly effective in treating the deadly fever, and "exhibited potential activity against Dengue fever."
8. Heart Health and Papaya Juice
Papayas are packed with antioxidants, all of which aid in keeping your heart and cardiovascular system running like it should.
About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the USA every year – 1 in every 4 deaths overall. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the USA for men and women (source). Scary, huh? Well, papaya could just play a role in keeping your heart safe.
The antioxidants from the papaya help to prevent oxidation of cholesterol in the body. "When oxidation of cholesterol takes place, it sticks to the walls of the blood vessels and forms plaque that can lead to heart attacks and strokes."
Get all those wonderful antioxidants by drinking papaya juice, and help keep your heart younger and healthier.
Boost Your Papaya Intake
The benefits of papaya juice and the papaya fruit are many, so let's look at a few ways you can incorporate more of it into your diet.
You can of course start just by eating the fruit of the ripe papaya, or by drinking its juice. If you have a juicer, there are tons of ways that you can get the nutritional benefits of papaya juice, either on its own or with other fruits and vegetable.
If you are leaving the skin on to juice your papaya - and you should, as that's where the enzyme papain comes from - give the fruit a gentle scrub. Use a kitchen scrubber and apple cider vinegar, and rinse after you scrub the skin well (but not too vigorously - just enough to remove any dirt or pesticides).
Cut the fruit into strips with the skin still on. You should make it small enough to fit through your juicer's feed (or to fit in your blender).
It's recommend that you remove the black seeds inside the cavity of the fruit - they contain carpaine, which can cause cardiovascular issues if consumed in larger quantities.
Delicious Papaya Juice Recipes
Once you've got your papaya prepped and ready to go, give one of these recipes a try!
Christopher Columbus called it the "fruit of the angels," and while it might not please everyone's palate, it's hard to deny the many papaya juice benefits. Consider juicing the papaya with some of your other favorite fruits and vegetables, so that you get used to the taste.
Whether you're looking for an easy detox, want to improve your immune system, need a digestive remedy, or you're looking for ways to brighten your skin, you might consider the papaya and its juice, the next time you're in the produce section.
What papaya recipes and remedies have you tried lately?