Papaya and the Oatmeal Project, Day 11 – Beauty and the Feast

Steel Cut Oats with Papaya[The Oatmeal Project, Day 11: Heart-Healthy Papaya]

For many, oatmeal is an opportunity to eat dessert for breakfast. For others (ok, maybe just us), oatmeal could be a cocktail. But if the point of eating oatmeal every day during Heart Health Month is to be really good to our hearts, then we’re going to (try to) stick to topping our bowl of beta-glucan fiber with other health-conscious foods like fresh fruit, nuts, seeds and other grains.


Fresh papayaOne fruit that we’ve surprisingly come across often in our health-seeking research is papaya. The tropical fruit’s color alone is a tipoff, since bright orange usually indicates the presence of vitamin C, antioxidants like alpha- and beta-carotene, and flavonoids. Papaya is a rich source of all of these, along with vitamins A, E, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, magnesium and of course, fiber.

Papaya: Health and Nutrition

It is the vitamins A, C and E, along with fiber and folate that promote cardiovascular health. Vitamins A, C and E prevent oxidation of cholesterol (oxidation of cholesterol is what leads to atherosclerosis) while fiber reduces cholesterol levels. Folate prevents damage to blood vessel walls.

While we do appreciate that papaya makes us beautiful on the inside by taking care of our cardiovascular health, we have to admit that we do love the anti-inflammatory properties of papaya that keep us beautiful on the outside as well. Inflammation leads to aging, so we’re all over anti-inflammatory papaya like it’s the fountain of youth.

Papaya contains a digestive enzyme named after itself, papain. Studies have shown that papain helps lower inflammation and to improve healing from burns, trauma, and allergies. Papaya is also a good source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. While you’re still going to get the most omega-3 bang for your fatty buck from superfoods like salmon and walnuts, you can get it from papaya, which is likely the only fruit that has a significant amount of omega-3s.

Sources:

World’s Healthiest Foods: Papaya
WebMD
LiveStrong

by Sarah J. Gim on February 12, 2011 · 5 comments

{ 5 comments }

Mei Teng February 14, 2011 at 7:01 am

Beautiful food photo.

TasteSpotting February 14, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Thank you, Mei!

Jess February 14, 2011 at 5:06 pm

That health and nutrition information is really interesting, but I’m always disappointed when bloggers don’t link to their source of information so I can easily find out more. I’d like to read more about that research, and I think it would be great if it became standard practice for bloggers to link to the source of research and/or information they’re discussing. :)

TasteSpotting February 14, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Added a few of the resources, per your suggestion Jess… we took notes as we went along and can’t find the one site that made the omega-3 claim (even looked through pages and pages of our internet browsing history!)… surely we’ll come across it again (the healthy month is only half over!). when we do, will post it here!

Joan February 15, 2011 at 6:47 am

Just a note, bright orange coloration is not an indicator of the presence of Vitamin C. It is an indicator of beta carotene, which is plentiful in papayas.

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