The Papaya fruit also goes by the names of pawpaw or papaw. Nobody is sure of its origins, but it is probably from Central America. It has associations with the ancient Mayan civilization and legend depicts it as one of Christopher Columbus's favorite fruits. In shape, it resembles a pear, but its skin is orange when fully ripened. Large black seeds fill the center. Many eat papaya for its taste, but its claim to fame also rests on curative properties. In addition to the actual fruit, natural healers use its seeds and leaves for various purposes.

1. Recommended for use in a diabetic-friendly salad

People with diabetes much take special care to avoid foods that have a negative effect on their blood sugar levels. At the same time, they must eat sufficiently to provide all the nourishment they need. Research shows that fermented papaya can lower blood sugar levels but since too low blood sugar is also dangerous, discuss this move first with a doctor or diabetes care advisor. Since the fresh fruit is very rich in fructose, people with diabetes should only eat a small amount of it.



2. Getting to the heart of the matter

This fruit contributes to good heart health in several ways. Fresh papaya contains large amounts of the potassium that helps the body avoid extremes of blood pressure. The potassium also moderates any damage that accumulations of sodium might cause. Also, the facts that this fruit is free of cholesterol and well-endowed with fiber helps to maintain a good ratio between the LLD (bad) and HLD (good) cholesterol. It also reduces the risk of heart problems by boosting the level of folate in the bloodstream. This compound lowers homocysteine levels.



3. Very good for the digestive system

Today's hectic urban lifestyles with rushed meals place extra pressure on the digestive system. So many people take medications to aid digestion. It would probably be much healthier if they eat some papaya since this fruit contains digestive enzymes that naturally break up digested foodstuffs. They also have an added benefit for papaya helps to improve control over bowel movements, and get rid of parasite infections in the intestines. People who regularly suffer from conditions such as reflux, heartburn and stomach ulcers find that papaya brings them relief.



4. Benefits those who suffer from rheumatic pains

Sufferers from arthritis and other rheumatic pains are sure to be interested in a non-pharmaceutical treatment. Papaya fruit acts as a natural anti-inflammatory drug able to lessen significantly rheumatic joint pains. Besides its value in treating existing pains, it reduces the risk of developing these conditions by boosting the levels of vitamin C in the body. While synthetic medications against rheumatic pains invariably have their side effects, the addition of papaya to meal plans raises none of these concerns.



5. Makes it easier to deal with menstrual stress

Only females are capable of fully appreciating the stress and pains women experience during their regular periods. With concerns about the use of medications, they will be glad to learn that substances found in papaya leaves seem to improve the regularity of their menstrual cycles. This natural treatment also tends to reduce the severity of the painful cramps that occur during these periods. Natural healing experts recommend using a mixture of papaya leaves with tamarind in salty water to relieve these pains.

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6. Value to pregnant women and those who want to avoid pregnancy

Many people remember the terrible experience of women in the 1960s who took a new drug to overcome the discomfort of morning sickness only to find out that it caused them to give birth to seriously deformed babies. Although many years have passed since this time, fears of anti-morning sickness drugs remain. Papaya offers a proven natural alternative to relieve the systems of morning sickness. Curiously enough, women who do not want to become pregnant also eat this fruit for its contraceptive qualities.



7. A fruit with skincare properties

Why spend a small fortunate on skin care products when nutrients found in papaya are good for treating acne and other skin problems. Natural healers sometimes use papain, or fermented papaya flesh, to cleanse the skin from dead cells and promote fresh and healthy skin development. They also mash the fruit and apply this to sores. Some claim that the high levels of vitamin A in the fruit reduce the risks of getting cancers of the skin.



8. A possible role in the struggle against Alzheimer's disease

As people live longer, the numbers suffering from Alzheimer's and other degenerative diseases are on the rise.  Scientists continue to study the causes and treatment of these illnesses. One theory connects Alzheimer's disease with the activities of free radical compounds in the body. A certain amount of free radicals naturally exists, but too many of them cause damage to body tissues and brain cells. Studies suggest that the antioxidant qualities of the papaya improve the body's protection against this damage and so lower the risk of such chronic diseases.



9. Taking the natural approach to hair care

For those who are disappointed with the effectiveness of synthetic hair care products, papaya could be an appealing alternative. Including the fruit in meal plans might help to maintain hair quality but the recommended approach applies it to the hair as a paste. Regular users claim that it puts a nice shine on the hair and encourages healthy hair growth. It also makes a suitable ingredient for use in shampoos to help to get rid of-dandruff.



10. Vitamins that boost the body's immunity

Weak immune systems open the door to a range of illnesses. Good quantities of vitamins A and C are present in papaya. These strengthen the body's immunity against flu and colds. A single cup of papaya is richer in vitamin C than that most famous of vitamin C sources, the orange. The fruit can also supply a third of the individual's recommended daily vitamin A intake. Vitamin A increases the creation of red blood cells and enhances resistance to life-threatening diseases.

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