Papaya may be a much overlooked fruit selection, but perhaps you should give it another chance. This tropical fruit is ranked as one of the most nutritious fruits by the Center for Science in the Public Interest because of its high content of so many vitamins and minerals. Once you learn more about what fresh papaya and papaya juice have to offer, it may become one of your new favorites. Serve it plain, add it to a fruit salad or cube it and mix with red onion and jalapeno for a nutritious twist on traditional salsa.
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A papaya is one of the fruits with the highest concentration of vitamin C per serving. A 1 cup serving of fresh papaya contains 88.3 mg of vitamin, which is well over 100 percent of the amount you need each day. The Harvard School of Public Health reports that vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to promote good health by producing collagen for healthy bones, teeth, gums and muscles.
A 1 cup serving of papaya is also a healthy way to boost your daily intake of potassium. This serving size of fresh papaya supplies you with 264 mg of this essential mineral. The American Heart Association notes that eating sufficient amounts of potassium will help to keep your blood pressure normal by reducing the harmful effects of the sodium in your diet. You should aim to get about 4,700 mg of potassium from your diet each day to get these benefits. Potassium also promotes healthy muscles and supports a normal heart beat.
Your body requires a certain amount of vitamin A for healthy skin, cells and bones. Your diet needs to include plenty of beta-carotene because your body uses it to produce vitamin A. A 1 cup serving of fresh papaya contains 397 mcg of beta-carotene. The Harvard School of Public Health reports that beta-carotene is a safer way to increase your vitamin A levels and eating papaya can aid you with that goal without the overdose dangers associated with taking vitamin A supplements.
Most commonly associated with cooked tomatoes, lycopene is an antioxidant that may help reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease and macular degeneration. Papayas are an additional source of lycopene that can help you add this antioxidant to your daily diet. A 1 cup serving of red-fleshed papaya contains 2,651 mcg of lycopene, but yellow-fleshed papayas contain 0 mcg. If you are trying to increase your lycopene intake, opt for red-fleshed papayas.