Every once in awhile, you’ll run into something that’s not only great tasting, but also great for your health. Papaya juice fits both bills perfectly. If you haven’t considered trying this incredible drink, here are three reasons why you should think about including it in your dietary regimen, and some great ways to enjoy papayas.
1. It’s Good for Heart Health
The papaya fruit contains the antioxidants lycopene and beta-carotene. These antioxidants help to keep cholesterol from building up in the arteries.1 Sometimes, the immune system will mistake this cholesterol for harmful bacteria and attack it. This, in turn, can lead to hardening of the arteries, a condition also known as atherosclerosis.2 Consuming more papaya can help you build up your supply of these extremely important antioxidants.
Papaya juice is also high in folate, which plays a major role in regulating the levels of homocysteines, which are a type of amino acid.3,4 Having elevated homocysteine levels in the blood may increase your risk of developing heart problems and suffering blood vessel damage.5
2. It Helps Keep Your Vision Sharp
Two other antioxidants found in papaya juice, lutein and zeaxanthin, may help to protect your eyes. Both are typically found in the macular area of the retina. Together, these antioxidants help neutralize dangerous molecules known as free radicals, which have been linked to retina damage. Lutein and zeaxanthin may also help reduce the chances of developing cataracts, which can cloud the lens of the eye, leading to cloudy vision.6
3. It Helps Keep Skin Looking Young
Papaya juice is rich in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant.7 Vitamin C may help keep your skin firm, because it helps stimulate the production of collagen, a protein that keeps skin looking young. If you don’t have enough collagen in your skin, that could lead to fine lines and, eventually, the development of wrinkles.8
How to Enjoy Papaya
There are many other ways that you can get the benefits of the incredible papaya fruit other than drinking juice. For example, you can cut the fruit into slices and enjoy them as an appetizer. You could cut papaya into chunks and add it with other fruits in a fruit salad. If you feel like getting a little more creative, you could freeze slices on a stick and have papaya popsicles.
You could even grill papaya, or mix it with some salsa, for an incredible dip. Mixing papaya with bananas and strawberries will produce a fantastic smoothie.
If you enjoy cooking and like a challenge, here are some more involved papaya recipes that are sure to be a hit:
Papayas and Baby Back Ribs
Use papaya as a part of a rib marinade and you’ll be astonished with the results.
- Mix a cup of the fruit with a clove of minced garlic, a quarter-cup of tomato paste, and a half a cup each of white wine, water, and honey.
- Pour the mixture on four pounds of spareribs, and let it sit for at least six hours, or as long as overnight. Make sure the ribs are evenly coated in the marinade.
- When you’re ready to put the ribs in the oven (you’ll be baking it for about an hour and a half at 400 degrees), scrape off the excess marinade and pour in a saucepan.
- Then use the excess to baste the ribs every 15 minutes while they’re cooking.
Thai Green Papaya Salad
If you want to get a little adventurous, you can try this fantastic salad. You’ll need to peel a green papaya, cut it in half and take out the seeds.
Then you’ll need:
5 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons of golden brown or palm sugar
2 tablespoons each of chopped, dried shrimp and fish sauce
4 minced garlic cloves
15 green beans
10 large cherry tomatoes (halved)
2 thinly sliced green onions
1 cup of chopped cilantro.
1Thai chili (with seeds)
2 tablespoons of chopped, salted peanuts.
Mix the lime juice, sugar, fish sauce, dried shrimp and garlic cloves in a bowl. These ingredients are your salad dressing. Then, cook the beans for about five minutes in a medium-sized saucepan with boiling salted water. Cut the beans into two-inch pieces after rinsing them with cold water. Peel the papaya and place in a large bowl with the green onions, Thai chili, green beans, tomatoes and cilantro. Pour the dressing, toss the salad, sprinkle the peanuts and serve.
Yes, you can even make papaya butter to put on steaks.
- Peel and seed a half of a papaya, and cut it into one-inch slices.
- You’ll also need two tablespoons of chopped rosemary, two cloves of minced garlic, a teaspoon each of salt and garlic salt, and a half a teaspoon of black pepper.
- Set aside ¾ of a cup of softened regular butter, as well. Rub each slice of papaya with two teaspoons of olive oil, and place on a grill for about 10 minutes.
- Put the grilled papaya slices in a blender with the butter, and blend until smooth. Put the mixture in a container, and refrigerate for about 90 minutes.
- Rub another two teaspoons of olive oil on each steak. Mix the rosemary, garlic salt, pepper, and regular salt in a bowl, and rub on each side of your steaks.
- Grill the steaks. Once they’re done, apply the papaya butter evenly to the meat, and enjoy.
Wrapping it Up
Whether you simply want to have a glass of papaya juice (just avoid added sugar papaya juices!) on a regular basis, or you want to get adventurous with papaya in the kitchen, you should seriously think about getting more of this amazing fruit on your plate. Papaya is heart healthy, and rich in beneficial antioxidants. If you haven’t eaten papaya before, you have every reason to seek it out and enjoy it!
For more healthy juices to include in your diet, keep reading here: