While I personally really enjoy eating papaya fruit fresh, papaya juice is delicious and extremely healthy. Ahead are five great reasons for juicing papayas and whether you should be making up your papaya juice with the skin on or off for the most health benefits.
1. Cardiovascular Health
Papaya is rich in beneficial antioxidants like beta-carotene and lycopene. These free radical quenchers work to prevent the oxidization of cholesterol in your cardiovascular system, believed to contribute to heart disease and other circulatory disorders.
A glass of fresh papaya juice will also contain high levels of folate, a B vitamin which helps to regulate the levels of homocysteine in your bloodstream. Elevated levels of homocysteine can damage blood vessels and is a known risk factor for heart disease. Other good sources of folate include lentils and beans, mango, broccoli and leafy green vegetables.
Additionally, juiced papaya is a great source of vitamin C and contains some vitamin E as well. Both of these vitamins play their part in maintaining cardiovascular health and protecting you against heart disease.
2. Cancer Protection
The high levels of antioxidants found in fresh papaya juice is also potentially protective against many different types of cancers. This is due to the way these antioxidant negate free radicals that can damage cells DNA.
Lycopene, beta-carotene and particularly a lesser-known carotenoid called beta-cryptoxanthin all combat cancerous cell changes within your body and help to prevent cancer.
Papaya also contains anti-cancer substances called isothiocyanates. These compounds help eliminate potential carcinogens from your body and improve the action of certain tumor suppressing proteins. They are the same isothiocyanates found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, often hailed as anti-cancer foods.
While broccoli does contain more isothiocyanates, most people would agree that a freshly made glass of papaya juice goes down a lot easier than a big plate of broccoli.
3. Protecting Your Vision
Alongside the other antioxidant carotenoids already mentioned, papaya juice contains two other antioxidants especially valuable for protecting your eyes. Lutein and zeaxanthin are phytonutrients that your body concentrates in the macula region of your eyes. Here they protect your eyes against both UV and damaging high-intensity blue light.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are known to be especially beneficial for reducing your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the USA. A good intake of these carotenoids is also reported to help improve visual acuity, especially when reading fine detail, like the words on this screen.
Yolks from free range eggs, winter squash, broccoli, spinach and other leafy greens are all good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, as is papaya juice.
If you can’t get enough of these type of foods regularly and are working in front of a computer screen all day, then your eyes may benefit from a natural lutein and zeaxanthin supplement derived from marigold flowers.
Aside from protecting your eyes from degeneration and disease, I’ve found I can work for much longer with less eyestrain by taking one of these high zeaxanthin and lutein capsules with breakfast when I’m working.
4. Papaya Juice for Better Skin
The high vitamin C content in particular in papaya juice can help enhance collagen production for maintaining your skin’s firmness. Collagen is an important connective protein that keeps skin looking and feeling firm and youthful. When it’s damaged too often, or not enough is being produced, fine lines and eventually wrinkles can result.
All of the other antioxidants in papaya juice like vitamin E, lycopene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin would help protect your skin cells from free radical damage, but vitamin C is especially important for maintaining healthy and youthful looking skin.
5. Papaya Juice with the Skin On for Better Digestion
Many of the nutrients in papaya fruit are found in the highest concentrations just under the skin. Given this it would be a good idea to juice them with the skin on for the most health benefits.
One valuable substance found primarily in papaya skin is the proteolytic enzyme called papain. Proteolytic means it breaks down protein and a papain rich papaya juice made with the skin on is particularly good to have after a big protein meal like a burger or steak.
It may actually be even more beneficial on an empty stomach though as papaya enzymes are believed to pass through the digestive system and into the bloodstream where they can break down damaged proteins.
A wide variety of autoimmune problems can stem from foreign proteins in your bloodstream, but a glass of fresh papaya juice with the skin left on during juicing can be a good source of papain to target and eliminate them.
How to Make Papaya Juice
If you are leaving the skin on to juice your papaya, it’s best to gently scrub it with a scrubbing brush splashed with apple cider vinegar. This helps to remove any sprays and cleans the fruit.
Next, simply cut your papaya into strips, just wide enough to fit through your juicer’s feed. You don’t need to worry about the seeds as they contain no juice. Turn it on and feed the papaya strips through slowly.
Papaya is quite a moist fruit, so for the most juice a good masticating juicer like this is much better value in the long run. While these top range juicers are more initially, you save it back by getting far more juice out of your produce, that is also of a higher quality with much less oxidization.
Here’s a video showing how to make papaya juice/smoothie the Haitian way!