Papaya has a flavor that immediately transports you to a beach vacation. In its prime during summer, the fruit is juicy, refreshing, and at its nutritional peak. This papaya smoothie is the perfect way to enjoy its hydrating properties during warmer months.
Papaya’s digestive enzymes
Papaya is incredible for aiding digestion due to its natural enzyme content. Many enzyme supplements are actually derived from papaya fruit. Papaya’s incredible digestive properties come from a compound called papain, which helps to break down protein more efficiently. This compound also has a cleansing effect on the intestines, helping to keep your gut at optimal health.
Papaya’s orange coloring is a strong indicator of the fruit’s natural beta-carotene content, a nutrient that gives fruits and vegetables a bright hue, plus acts as a powerful antioxidant. Beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A, which is a crucial vitamin for eye health, immunity, and skin rejuvenation. The benefit of consuming beta-carotene from whole food sources (rather than supplementing with vitamin A) is that the body will only convert exactly as much vitamin A as it needs.
Ginger’s calming benefits
To add to this smoothie’s digestive properties, we’ve paired papaya with fresh ginger. Ginger helps to relax the intestinal muscles, helping to relieve IBS, bloating, constipation, and other digestive issues. It can help prevent the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) from loosening, which can lead to acid reflux and heartburn. Ginger can also fight bacteria that is associated with acid reflux.
We often consider the healthfulness of the food we eat, but many of us ignore the actual process of digestion once we eat. While the nutrient density of our foods is imperative for optimal health, ensuring that our body can break down and absorb those nutrients is just as important. Consuming ginger in whole or tea form has been shown to boost nutrient absorption of foods eaten, boosting the overall benefits of a ginger-containing meal.
A splash of lime
Lime adds a perfect fresh counteract to the sweet papaya and spicy ginger. Lime is rich in antioxidants, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. The vitamin C and flavonoid content of limes make it your skin’s best friend by helping to boost natural collagen production. The acidity of limes also helps with the breakdown of food, ensuring we get all of the optimal nutrients out of our food by the time it reaches our intestines.
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/2 large papaya
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
1/4 cup fresh mint
1 cup ice
Cut papaya in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Remove flesh from skin and put directly into the blender.
Peel ginger. Slice lime in half and juice (discarding seeds). Remove mint leaves from the stem.
Add coconut milk, ginger, lime juice, mint, and ice to the blender. Blend on high until creamy and smooth. Serve the papaya smoothie immediately.
Recipe and photography by Kaitlyn Noble
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