The main antioxidant in Papaya is papain, which gives it that rotten smell. Unripe papayas contain more papain than ripe ones. The ripeness of a papaya can determine how nutritious it really is. One study 1 looked at the nutrient content of ripe and unripe papayas and determined that several different antioxidants increased as a papaya ripened. They saw that certain carotenoids, which is the family that vitamin A (beta-carotene) comes from, increased dramatically. The amount of lycopene increased nearly 10x in ripened papayas vs unripe ones and beta-carotene more than doubled its original amount. Vitamin C more than doubled in ripened papayas as well. Basically, the more rotten your papaya smells, the healthier it is. However, don’t eat papayas that have actually gone rotten.
Papaya is very helpful with digestion and may also help treat all types of arthritis. How these things are connected is still unclear but it may have to do with fewer toxins in your body because enzymes in papaya help to completely digest foods that you eat.
Papaya has compounds that can lower blood pressure 1 and there are also some signs that papayas may help relieve hot flashes 2,3 .
Lycopene, which is a very powerful antioxidant and cancer fighter that’s also in Tomatoes and Watermelons. Studies show that eating 1 or more papayas a week may reduce your risk of cervical cancer. ½ cup daily or about 1 Papaya per week will help you get many of the health benefits.
Papayas are a great source of carotenes and fiber (Beta-carotene is a type of carotene that is converted by the body into vitamin A). Carotenes, in particular beta-carotene, can help keep your vision healthy and prevent macular degeneration in your eyes. Carrots are another popular source of carotenes.
Papayas are high in vitamin C. 1 cup of Papaya contains over 140% of your daily value of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for your overall health, an antioxidant defense against free radicals, stress, and collagen growth, which can help reduce the appearance of cellulite and wrinkles on your body 4
- Sancho, Laura E. Gayosso-García, Elhadi M. Yahia, and Gustavo Adolfo González-Aguilar. “Identification and quantification of phenols, carotenoids, and vitamin C from papaya (Carica papaya L., cv. Maradol) fruit determined by HPLC-DAD-MS/MS-ESI.” Food Research International 44.5 (2011): 1284-1291.
- Nizar M, Suhaila M, Head R. Polyphenol-enriched extract of oil palm fronds (Elaeis guineensis) promotes vascular relaxation via endothelium-dependent mechanisms. Asia Pacific Journal Of Clinical Nutrition [serial online]. 2002;11 Suppl 7:S467-S472.
- The Dr. Oz Show
- Motherherbs.com. Papaya. Located at http://www.motherherbs.com/carica-papaya.html