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.
One 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.