Why men should eat papaya.

The tropical papaya: sweet, creamy and exotic, it’s also rich source of antioxidants such as vitamin C, flavonoids and carotenes, great for the immune and cardiovascular system and even offering possible protection against colon cancer. As a good source of fibre, it helps take care of our ‘friendly bacteria, while fibre has also been shown to lower cholesterol. However, when it comes to men, research shows papaya may have a special role to play.

Lycopene and prostate cancer

Papaya is rich in lycopene, which of course is also found in tomatoes and watermelon. In a case control study earlier this year in Viet Nam, which has seen a rise in the incidence of prostate cancer, higher intakes of lycopene were significantly associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer.

More research is required, but the authors went on to suggest possible pathways through which lycopene may protect against prostate cancer, for example, how the antioxidant properties of lycopene can prevent DNA damage by scavenging free radicals, while lycopene can also modulate gene expression related to prostate cancer growth and slow cancer cell growth.

Papaya also contains papain, a digestive enzyme that as well as aiding digestion is used to treat allergies and injuries and can be used a meat tenderiser.

Note: when it comes to papaya seeds or green papaya enzymes, pregnant and breastfeeding women and young children should NOT consume them. Other adults may eat the seeds of the papaya, but they have a strong flavour and are not to everyone’s taste. They contain high levels of digestive enzymes, which may help maintain the intestinal tract. If in doubt, always consult your doctor.

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