Papayas are not only for exotic vacations – add them to your basic diet to lower blood pressure!

As exotic as papayas may be, they have every right to be a part of your daily diet especially if you have hypertension. These fruits are rich in potassium and magnesium ― minerals that have been shown to lower high blood pressure. In fact, one small papaya contains almost 3 grams of fiber and just 59 calories, making the fruit a helpful addition to any weight-control program or healthful diet.

The tropical fruit is a very good source of folate, carotenoids and vitamins A and E and it contains 33 percent more vitamin C than an orange. Potent antioxidant activity boosts papaya’s anti-inflammatory power and make it effective in preventing heart disease and stroke.

Papaya’s main claim to fame is that it is the only source of papain, an enzyme that breaks down proteins and improves digestion. The enzyme is also an effective anti-inflammatory, proven to ease stings, burns, wounds, and postoperative pain. Papain increases the production of immune cells called cytokines to speed healing. It also slows the blood-clotting mechanism, which improves circulation and boosts the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to an inflamed area.

To get more papaya into your diet, use them instead of tomatoes in salsa recipes, added them to fruit salads and yogurt, serve them over ice cream, or use them to top granola. Unripe green papaya, which is even higher in papain than ripe, can be grated and added to salads. You can also enjoy papaya as is spritzed with juice from a lime wedge or blend cubed fruit into a smoothie. Those with a sweet tooth should definitely try this health papaya cake recipe:

Papaya Cake

Ingredients

    • 1/4 cups Flour
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • tsp. baking powder
    • tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 tbsp. orange zest
    • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
    • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. ginger
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 1 tbsp. vinegar
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 papaya, finely chopped

Method

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, coconut flakes, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger.
    • In a medium bowl, whisk together water, oil, vanilla and vinegar. Pour wet mixture into dry and whisk until just combined. Fold in orange zest and papaya.
    • Pour batter into a greased cake pan and bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Orange syrup Ingredients

    • Juice of 2 oranges
    • 1/4 cup sugar

Method

In a small saucepan bring the orange juice to a boil and add the sugar whisk until the sugar is melted into the orange juice.

Pour the syrup over the cake (prick the cake all over with a fork so that the syrup is absorbed). Let sit for 5 minutes and enjoy!

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