Call it papaya or pawpaw, this available-all-year-round, tropical fruit packs a load of nutritional benefits housed in its unassuming pear-shaped body. Read on to discover papaya’s benefits and be sure to check out the easy-peasy recipes at the end!
Rich in vitamins A, C and E, the antioxidants in this orangey fruit not only make a great immune-booster, the flavonoids zeaxanthin, lutein and cyptoxanthin help keep your eyes healthy and prevent free radical damage - giving your skin a healthy glow.
Low in calories
Get this: a cup of papaya is only 40 calories! A great source of fibre – we’d say it’s perfect if you’re planning to shed some kilos. Enjoy a delicious bowl of this juicy fruit on its own or with a dollop of yoghurt - you’ll be pleasantly surprised how full you’ll be!
Papain, the protein-digesting enzyme present in the beta-carotene rich papaya aids in digestion and helps alleviate menstrual pains. The next time you’re having indigestion or constipation, add a papaya leaf, salt and tamarind to a glass of water and bring to boil. Drinking a glass of papaya juice may help to ease your discomfort and settle your stomach. Also, ripe papaya acts as a laxative and helps regulate bowel movement.
Noticed how papaya is increasingly used in many skincare products these days - from ointments to lotions? Here’s why – papain has numerous skin-friendly properties:
- Exfoliates the skin
- Reduces wrinkles and fine lines
- Lightens the skin
- Moisturises dry skin
- Heals minor cuts and burns
Whether you’re looking to shed those dead skin cells, hydrate your skin or heal a wound, go natural and pick a papaya! Simply mash ½ cup of papaya and apply on your face. Leave for 15 minutes then rinse off with cool water. For a natural anti-ageing formula, add a few drops of honey and 1 tablespoon of milk.
Tip:If you have sensitive skin, use the pulp of a ripe papaya instead as raw (green) papayas have a higher concentration of latex that may cause skin irritation or allergies.
Don’t let the sweetness of papaya fool you. Low in glycemic index (the rate that foods cause a spike in your blood sugar - the lower the better), papayas are actually low in natural sugar content.
Boosts platelet count
While individual results may vary, research findings have reported that papaya leaf extracts help bump up platelet counts particularly in dengue patients.
3 Easy-Peasy Papaya Recipes
This raw papaya salad is a delectable combo of flavours – crunchy and fresh with every mouthful! Tossed with peanuts, chilies and lemon juice, this easy-to-make Thai salad sure makes a refreshing and light lunch!
The dense and juicy texture of a ripe papaya is the perfect ingredient to make this luscious, dreamy and calming drink. Blend the papaya and yoghurt and if you wish, add a pinch of ground cardamom for a nice aromatic flavour. Enjoy chilled.
Halve a papaya and scoop out the seeds. Mix yoghurt, nuts, granola and chopped fruits of your choice (be creative - try kiwifruits, cranberries, cherries or raisins) in a bowl and pour this into the center of the papaya halves. Sprinkle chia seeds over, if you like and enjoy! Adults and kids will love this fun snack!
Or simply drizzle lime or lemon juice over your papaya slices, it’s uber refreshing, we promise!
Christopher Columbus loved this fruit so much that he called it ‘Fruit of the Angels’ – a name well-deserved.