Papayas are delicious tropical fruits packed to bursting with healthy vitamins and minerals, one of nature’s finest self-contained super supplements.
Some of the great nutrients present in papaya are vitamin C, vitamin B, carotenes, magnesium, and potassium, all essential for the effective functioning of the human body. Papaya’s secret ingredient is its own special digestive enzyme, papain, which is an excellent treatment for various kinds of injuries.
Papayas have a proven record of being effective preventative measures against heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, partly due to their richness in three very powerful antioxidant vitamins – vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin C. Antioxidants act to neutralize the potentially harmful effects of free radicals, or oxidants, which are natural by-products of the way our bodies produce energy.
Free radicals travel around the body and attach themselves to healthy cells which they proceed to destroy. Antioxidants prevent this by binding to the free radicals first, enabling the body to pass them safely.
Free radical damage is known to cause some types of cancer, as well as being a contributory factor in high blood pressure and complications due to diabetes. In the case of high blood pressure, this can occur or be made worse by cholesterol build-up in the blood vessels.
Cholesterol builds up in blood vessels when it is oxidized by free radicals, and can also lead to heart attacks and strokes. The antioxidants in papaya prevent cholesterol from becoming oxidized, and therefore also from becoming stuck in the arteries.
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The vitamins C and E in papaya are known to have a contributory effect in the lowering of LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol levels in the blood, in association with the enzyme paraoxonase.
Papayas are also an excellent source of fiber, which is known to contribute to lowering cholesterol. The folic acid present in the fruit is also known to convert certain amino acids that can damage blood vessels into harmful, incidental substances. This is yet another way that papayas can help to reduce a person’s risk of serious cardiovascular illness.
In addition to the effect of papaya’s natural anti-oxidants, the foliate, beta-carotene, and vitamins C and D it contains are each associated with decreased risk of colon cancer amongst other illnesses. Though partly also to their anti-oxidant status.
Some enzymes in papaya have potent anti-inflammatory qualities, including the enzymes chymopapain ad papain, and they have been proven in various situations to reduce inflammation and to support the healing of tissue, particularly in the case of burns.
Antioxidants also contribute to these anti-inflammatory effects. Some other conditions that can be at least partly treated by means of anti-inflammatory agents include arthritis and asthma.
The vitamins A and C found in papayas are crucial in order to maintain the proper function of the immune system and help fight off infectious diseases.
One of the most interesting health benefits of papaya is its ability to treat the condition called age-related macular degeneration, or ARMD for short. Fruit is known to be a particularly effective way to stave off the onset of age-related macular degeneration, but scientists have not yet been able to put their finger on exactly why.
We know that papaya, for example, contains high levels of antioxidants and other beneficial vitamins and minerals. But this does not explain why it is a very successful treatment for age-related macular degeneration, while a non-fruit plant with similar, if not quite as potent, nutritional make-up has a much lesser effect.
Perhaps there are some qualities present in the mysterious papaya fruit that modern science has no way yet of detecting.
The use of Papayas to ease symptoms of arthritis is also proven in tests, with doctors believing that this is primarily due to the high vitamin C content in these fruits. In studies of people at risk of developing arthritis, those who consumed higher amounts of vitamin C on a regular basis showed a greatly reduced incidence of developing the condition.
The high levels of vitamin C in papaya may also help to combat some of the negative effects of smoking, including emphysema. Though of course quitting smoking altogether is the much, much safer option, papayas made tide you over until you can summon the willpower.
Papaya combined with green tea may have improved the ability to prevent prostate cancer than either papayas or green tea taken separately, according to one study. More investigation is needed to find out why this might be, and whether the mechanism could be used in future preventative treatments for prostate cancer.
Papayas are sometimes called superfruits because of their astonishingly high levels of vitamins, minerals, and other health-giving substances.
If you cannot find fresh papaya in your local area, supplements containing all the goodness of papaya in an extracted form are available and recommended to all, especially suffering from inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, and anyone who may be at increased risk of suffering vitamin C deficiency. Some papaya supplements even taste almost as good as the real thing.
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