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Can Papaya Reduce Risk of Diabetes?

Accessible fruit offers variety of health benefits….

Incorporating papaya into your diet can have many possible health benefits. Studies suggest that consuming papaya decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease as well as promotes healthy skin and hair, increases energy and decreases overall weight. Papaya is very accessible and is available most times of the year in many supermarkets and farmers markets. This exotic fruit is filled with many antioxidants, nutrients, and vitamins, which play a role in reducing many other lifestyle health conditions such as cancer and bone fractures.

One medium papaya contains about 4.7 grams of fiber, 120 calories, 30 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of protein, and provides 224% of your daily need of vitamin C. It is also a good source of folate, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E, magnesium, copper, pantothenic acid, lutein, potassium, and lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant.

Since papaya is high in fiber and water content, it prevents constipation and promotes a healthy digestive tract. It also contains an enzyme called papain, which also helps to aid with digestion. Papain also has skin healing beneficial effects and has been used to treat bedsores. When mashed and used topically, papaya has been shown to promote wound healing and prevent infection of burn areas.

Studies have shown that those with type 2 diabetes who consume a diet high in fiber had improved blood glucose, insulin, and lipid levels. Those with type 1 diabetes who consumed a diet high in fiber had lower blood glucose levels.

Antioxidants such as zeaxanthin is also found in papaya, which filters out harmful blue light-rays to protect eye health and decrease the risk and progression of age-related macular degeneration. This effect has also been seen in those who consume high amounts of all fruits, at 3 or more servings per a day.

Papaya also contains nutrients such as beta-carotene and choline. High consumption of beta-carotene has been shown to decrease the risk of developing asthma. In Japanese populations, beta-carotene has also been shown to have an inverse association with the development of colon cancer and, according to a study conducted by Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition, diets high in beta-carotene in younger men have a protective role against prostate cancer. Papaya’s choline plays a role in reducing chronic inflammation.

Increasing consumption of fruits high in vitamin K, such as papaya, is also important for good bone health as it acts as a modifier of bone matrix protein and also improves calcium absorption and possibly decreases urinary excretion of calcium.

Those with latex allergies may also have reactions to papaya since they contain chitinases, which often causes cross-reaction between latex and foods that contain them.

Practice Pearls:

  • One medium papaya contains about 4.7 grams of fiber, 120 calories, 30 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of protein, and provides 224% of your daily need of vitamin C.
  • Studies have shown that those with type 2 diabetes who consume a diet high in fiber had improved blood glucose, insulin, and lipid levels. Those with type 1 diabetes who consumed a diet high in fiber also had lower blood glucose levels.
  • Those with latex allergies may also have reactions to papaya since they contain chitinases, which often causes cross-reaction between latex and foods that contain them.

Ware, Megan. “Papaya: Health Benefits, Uses, Risks.” Medical News Today (MNT). MediLexicon International Ltd, 30 June 2015. Web 8 Aug 2015.