Next to apples, oranges and watermelon, the papaya is another commonly eaten fruit in Singapore. Dietitian Phoebe Thong from Outram Community Hospital (OCH) shares more about the healthy goodness of this tropical fruit.
Papayas can be found in our supermarkets all year round and are an inexpensive sweet treat. In addition to being delicious, this popular fruit also offers many health benefits.
Dietitian Phoebe Thong from
Outram Community Hospital (OCH), under
SingHealth Community Hospitals (SCH), a member of the
SingHealth group, shares more.
Health benefits of papaya
1. May lower risk of heart disease and cancer
Free radicals are reactive molecules created during the body’s metabolism that promote oxidative stress, which may potentially lead to diseases such as
heart diseases and cancer. Categorised as a yellow or orange fruit, papaya is high in antioxidants such as Vitamin A and E which can help to neutralise these free radicals.
2. Promotes digestive health
A great source of fibre, papaya can help to prevent
constipation and promote good bowel movements for better digestive health. Consuming such high-fibre fruits can also help to keep you fuller for longer, which in turn will prevent you from overeating during or in between meals.
3. Regulates heart beat and blood pressure
Papaya contains potassium, which is a mineral that can also be found in many vegetables and fruits. Potassium is important for your heart, nerve and muscles to function properly and an inadequate intake may result in muscle weakness and cramping.
4. Contains Papain
Papain, an enzyme found in papaya, can help to break down tough protein chains into smaller protein fragments such as amino acids and peptides, which aids digestion. In fact, papain can also be used to tenderise meat.
Ways to incorporate papaya in your daily diet
Cut papaya into small cubes and add them to some low fat yoghurt and chopped nuts.
Add papaya chunks to salad greens and cooked shrimp, shredded chicken pieces or tuna. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Chop the papaya into pieces and combine with low fat milk and ice in a blender. Blend until smooth.
Boil papaya chunks together with white fungus, red dates, water and a sweetener. Swap out the rock sugar with an artificial sweetener for a low-sugar alternative.
Remember to also include whole grains, lean proteins and other colourful fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy balanced diet.
Nutritional analysis of papaya
1 wedge of papaya (130g) has approximately:
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