As a kid, I used to hate papaya because of its ugly, black seeds, strange smell and a very different taste that no other fruit had. But I think your taste buds, likes and dislikes undergo abrupt changes with age and you start liking what your mind says is healthy. My feelings are no longer harsh towards papaya and I have actually started liking the taste.
Numerous health benefits are associated with this summer fruit and one must eat papayas everyday and that too on an empty stomach to get full benefits of the fruit. Papaya is a highly nutritious fruit that is low in calories and perfect for those who want to lose weight. Every 100 grams of papaya has nearly 39 kcal, 5.90 grams sugar, 1.8 gram dietary fiber, 0.14 gram fat, 0.61 gram protein, and milligrams of sodium, potassium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium, calcium, and various vitamins. Moreover eating papaya during summers helps keeps your digestive system cool.
Health benefits of Papaya:
- Papaya is a low calorie fruit and rich in fiber. This combination makes it a very good fruit for weight loss.There are certain digestive enzymes known as papain and chymonpapain in the fruit which help in cleaning the digestive tract.
- Papaya is rich in Vitamin A. Every 100 grams of papaya contains 328 micrograms of Vitamin A. Vitamin A along with Vitamin C found in papayas are highly beneficial for the immune system of the body. A healthy immune system means a healthy body.
- Vitamin C, E and A found in papaya are powerful antioxidants. Oxidation of cholesterol is prevented to a great extent with the help of these nutrients thereby protecting us against heart diseases. In case cholesterol gets oxidized it started getting accumulated in the blood vessels and may lead to a heart attack. Also the fiber content in papaya helps in lowering high cholesterol level.
- Homocysteine is converted into benign amino acid with the help of folic acid found in papaya. If remained unconverted, homocysteine has the ability to damage blood vessels leading to a heart attack.
- Colon cancer can be prevented by the nutrients present in papaya.
- Protein-digesting enzymes in papaya i.e. papain and chymopapain help in reducing inflammation and help in healing burns. Thus papaya is beneficial for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and osteoarthritis.
- Papaya helps maintain healthy eyesight.
- Papaya is rich in lycopene which helps in reducing the risk of developing prostate cancer.
How to select the best Papaya?
Elongated papaya tastes better than the round ones. Do not buy overly soft papaya with bruises all over. Few dark spot on the surface would work but not too many. Buy green papayas only if you want to cook them. If you are buying a partially yellow papaya then you can ripen it at room temperature by wrapping it in a newspaper along with a banana.
For better taste keep the ripened papaya in a refrigerator and eat it within two to three days.