The health benefits of papaya

After a long and stressful day, nutritionists advise that one way to relieve the hassle is by eating a plate of papaya, also known as pawpaw.

The fruit, they say, is rich in several nutrients like vitamin C, which can keep one stress-free.

Private Kamanzi, a nutritionist at Amazon Nutrition Cabinet, a clinic in Kigali that deals with diet, physical wellness and lifestyle, says consuming papaya is essential and improves one’s health.

For instance, he says, this fruit is rich in fibre, vitamin C and antioxidants; which according to him prevent cholesterol build up in one’s arteries.

He explains that when too much cholesterol is built in the body, it can lead to several complications, including heart attack and hypertension.

Losing weight is a goal for some, however, achieving it has always had challenges. Kamanzi says a good way to cut weight is by including papaya in one’s diet.

“Those looking to lose or maintain a healthy weight must include papaya in their diet as it is very low in calories. In fact, the fibre content in it leaves one feeling full and at the same time, clears the bowel movement, making one’s weight loss goals easier,” he says.

Rene Tabaro, a dietician/nutritionist at King Faisal Hospital, says consuming papayas can also help boost immunity.

He says that the immune system acts as a guard against various infections that make one sick. He adds that one papaya contains more than 200 per cent of one’s daily requirement of vitamin C, thus making it great for immunity.

Tabaro says due to today’s lifestyle, many people are developing issues of digestion due to the kind of foods they consume.

He says people have limited time and whenever they get time, they always rush to buy or eat fast food from restaurants, which is normally prepared with a lot of oil.

Kamanzi explains that eating papaya daily can help prevent digestion problems; this is because it has a digestive enzyme known as papain along with fibre, which helps improve the digestive health.

DISEASES AT BAY

Tabaro says in most cases, people who are suffering from diabetes have to watch what they eat and that’s why they are put on a specific diet by nutritionists.

For instance, he says, when they consume both sugary and starchy carbohydrates; it can raise blood sugar levels.

“Papaya is an excellent food option for diabetics as it has a low-sugar content, one shouldn’t be fooled by its sweetness.

Also, people who don’t have diabetes can eat papaya to prevent it from happening,” he says.

Still concerning diseases, Kamanzi says the fruit can decrease the risk of arthritis.

He says arthritis can be a really debilitating disease and people who have it may find their quality of life reduced significantly.

He says eating papaya is good for the bones as they have anti-inflammatory properties which help keep arthritis at bay.

Papaya can also cut the risk of certain cancers. Tabaro says papaya is a rich source of antioxidants, phytonutrients, and flavonoids that prevent the cells from undergoing free radical damage.

He says some studies have linked the consumption of papaya to a reduced risk of colon and prostate cancer.

OTHER BENEFITS

Because of the vitamin A in papaya, Tabaro says it’s a great fruit for the health of the eyes.

He explains that the vitamin A in it helps protect vision from degenerating. One can lose their ability to see due to diseases like age-related macular degeneration. However, he says by eating papaya, it will ensure that one is free from that.

The fruit also prevents signs of ageing.

And who wouldn’t want to stay younger? Tabaro says healthy habits like eating a papaya daily can prolong the process of ageing and may make one look younger than their real age.

He says this is due to vitamin C, vitamin E, and antioxidants like beta-carotene which are abundant in papaya that help prevent the skin from free radical damage, controlling wrinkles and other signs of ageing.

Women who normally experience menstrual pain should turn to papaya because papain helps to regulate and ease the flow, Tabaro says.

editorial@newtimesrwanda.com

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