Unless you live somewhere tropical, papaya is probably not part of your regular diet, but given its positive effects on digestion, it should be. Think of papaya as nature's version of Tums or Rolaids — it's that good at helping the body combat heartburn, indigestion, and constipation. The magic is in the enzymes the fruit contains — papain and chymopapain — which help to break down proteins and soothe the stomach by promoting a healthy acidic environment. In the end, you are left with a happy, less-bloated belly and a digestive system that's less irritated.
If its ability to soothe the stomach is still not enough to get you to the corner of the produce aisle designated for exotic fruit, keep in mind that papaya is also rich in disease-fighting antioxidants, stress-relieving B vitamins, and cholesterol-lowering fiber. Enjoy papaya on its own, with yogurt, or in one of these healthy recipes. Each has the ability to transport you to the tropics, even when there's no beach in sight — and as far as we're concerned, that's reason alone to eat the fruit!