If you’ve ever had a papaya in your life, then you know one thing about them: they’re downright delicious.
But aside from their yummy, fresh, tropical goodness, there’s a lot more to a papaya than meets the eye.
In fact, I know something that I bet would shock you.
Papayas can actually help you lose weight.
It sounds crazy, right? Well, I promise, it’s true – and I’m going to show you how.
Can Papayas Really Help Me Lose Weight?
Let’s took a closer look at the papaya.
First of all, the papaya (also sometimes called the papaw or pawpaw), is a fruit found mostly in Southern Mexico and Central America, though it can also be found in Florida, Hawaii and other places with tropical-like climates. It grows on a tree and tastes sort of like a cross between a mango and a pineapple (maybe an orange or two thrown in there, too!).
Depending on how ripe the fruit is, it can range anywhere from a light green hue to a yellowish amber to a bright orange color. Generally, the closer to orange, the better.
As a naturally occurring fruit, the papaya is extremely low calorie, low fat and low in cholesterol. Just one small papaya is a mere 68 calories – only 3 percent of the recommended daily value.
The papaya is also chock full of important nutrients, like vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, riboflavin and enzymes, so it can improve your internal health with every bite.
But how does papaya help you with weight loss, exactly?
Well the answer to that lies in its digestive benefits.
You see, because the papaya is very high in both fiber and potassium, it can actually improve your body’s digestive function. In fact, papayas have been known to relieve constipation, help flush toxins out of your system and remove waste.
And all these actions are crucial to weight loss.
Papayas can also ensure your body absorbs carbohydrates and nutrients properly (as well as quickly), and they can keep your blood sugar from spiking. This act is vital to staving off hunger, maintaining a well-functioning metabolism and preventing weight gain.
Additionally, papayas also contain papain, which is known to help break down proteins. This unique enzyme is thought to increase metabolism and boost digestion – providing even more help in the weight loss department!
Other Benefits of Papayas
Papayas have even been shown to protect the colon from cancer and boost the cardiovascular system, among many other health benefits. Plus, as papayas are nearly 89 percent water, they’re extremely hydrating. They can ensure your body is filtering toxins properly, and they can keep you energetic, healthy and alert.
Some claim that papaya seeds can aid with stomachaches and even cure fungal infections, while others use the fruit to treat skin diseases, sores and rashes. The root of the papaya tree is also commonly used as an analgesic to relieve pain and soreness.
Papayas are a very versatile fruit. Because they’re tropical, they go great with just about every meal, from breakfast all the way up to dessert time.
In the morning, they’re great chopped up in a bowl of oats, juiced into a smoothie or even just by themselves as a side to your veggie omelette. For lunch, throw some on a bed of greens and top with a nice vinaigrette, or prepare a fruit salad for dessert.
At dinnertime, papayas can be a great way to cool down a spicy dish, or you can even create a salsa or chutney out of them, and place them atop a lean piece of fish or turkey. For dessert, round out the day with a papaya pop (just juice a few papayas and freeze into a Popsicle dish), or throw some on a plate of cottage dish for a sweet kick.
You can even use the papaya to make drinks, too! Juice it, and create a natural fruit juice to drink with breakfast, or brew the leaves with hot water, and make a nice afternoon tea. A little bonus: according to recent studies, papaya leaf tea just may help prevent cancer, treat ulcers, and help with gluten and wheat digestion.
Are You Eating Enough Papayas?
If you’re hoping to lose weight, then it might be time to start working papayas into your weekly meal plans. They’re healthy, they’re hydrating and they’re great for your weight loss goals. Plus, they’re delicious – so why not just give it a try?
Here’s a great place to find papaya-based recipes, and you can always look to sites like Pinterest for inspiration as well. Do you have any great ideas for working papayas into your meals? Be sure to share them with me in the comments!