There’s no better way to start your day than with a taste of the tropics. This fruity and refreshing smoothie will even have the groggiest of early risers smiling and moving through the day with an extra bounce in their step. The shining star in this smoothie recipe is papaya.
Papaya is a rich source of antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and special digestive enzymes that have a remarkable effect both internally and externally. If you’d like to improve your skin, relieve digestion problems, protect your eyes and heart then consider the many benefits of eating papaya.
For your skin
Ripe papaya is a great source of antioxidant vitamin C, vitamin E and carotenoids like beta-carotene and lycopene. The high levels of these nutrients can help protect your skin against free radicals known to cause wrinkles and other visible signs of aging.
The enzyme papain in the flesh and skin of the fruit actually breaks down dead skin cells and helps promote skin renewal when used topically on the face or body. Using papaya topically, as scrubs or cleansers can improve your skin’s texture, elasticity and appearance.
For your eyes
Along with its beta-carotene content that can be converted to vitamin A, which is extremely important to eye health and vision, papaya also contains the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.
Lutein and zeaxanthin, known as xanthophylls, are concentrated in the macular region of our eyes. Here they provide protection against high-energy blue light that can damage our retinas. The high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in papaya may also protect us against developing cataracts, glaucoma, and other chronic eye diseases.
The high levels of vitamin C and E along with antioxidants like beta-carotene and lycopene found in papaya can help reduce the oxidization of cholesterol in our arteries. Cholesterol oxidization is considered a dangerous process, potentially leading to arteries blocked with plaque that can result in heart attacks. Increasing your intake of these antioxidants from health foods like papaya may help improve blood flow to the heart and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
Papaya is a good source of folate, which can help control high levels of homocysteine found in the bloodstream – another warning sign of potential heart-related illness as high levels of homocysteine in the blood are known to damage blood vessels making them difficult to properly circulate through the body.
The enzymes in papaya, and especially the green fruit, can improve digestion by breaking down proteins into their individual amino acids. Undigested proteins can lead to health issues such as gastrointestinal problems and an overgrowth of flatulence causing bacteria in the colon.
The proteolytic enzyme papain found in papaya is extremely efficient at breaking down proteins and restoring healthy bacteria in our gut. The seeds of papaya are believed to have an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect on our digestive systems. Studies have shown an extract made from them is effective at killing E coli, Salmonella, Staph and other dangerous bacterial infections.
Tropical Papaya Smoothie
2 cups papaya
1 cup pineapple
1 1/2 cup coconut water
Small handful of cashews
Dash of cinnamon
Blend and enjoy.
Source: Superfood Profile