The Papaya has been regarded as one of the most valuable tropical fruits. It is cylindrical or pear-shaped. The central cavity is surrounded by hundreds of small seeds, though sometimes seedless varieties of the fruit are also found.
The fruit has a thin smooth skin. It is dark green in color at first, but as the papaya ripens, it changes to bright yellowish or orange. Inside, the thick juicy flesh has a soft melting quality, and maybe yellow or pink. It has a delicate aroma and delicious flavor.
Papaya is regarded as a wholesome fruit. The daily requirements of some of the essential nutrients like proteins, minerals, vitamins can be met from this fruit. The vitamin C contents in papaya increases as the maturity progresses. Its carbohydrate content is mainly of invert sugar which is a form of predigested food. Papayas offer not only the luscious taste and sunlit color of the tropics, but are rich sources of antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C and flavonoids; the B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid; and the minerals, potassium and magnesium; and fiber. Together, these nutrients promote the health of the cardiovascular system and also provide protection against colon cancer. In addition, papaya contains the digestive enzyme, papain, which is used like bromelain, a similar enzyme found in pineapple, to treat sports injuries, other causes of trauma, and allergies.
Natural Benefits and Curative Properties
The papaya has remarkable medicinal virtues which were fully recognized even in ancient times. It is not only one of the most easily digested fruits, but it also aids the digestion of other foods. Ripe papaya is an excellent tonic for growing children, for pregnant women and nursing mothers. It is an energy giving food.
Modern scientific investigations into the properties of the papaya have confirmed many of the ancient beliefs in its virtues. The most important of these virtues is the discovery of a protein-digesting enzyme in the milky juice or latex, which is carried in a network of vessels throughout the plant. The enzyme is similar to pepsin in its digestive action and is reputed to be so powerful that it can digest 200 times its own weight in protein. Its effect is to assist the body’s own enzymes in assimilating the maximum nutritional value from food to provide energy and body building materials.
Papian in the raw papaya is highly beneficial in the deficiency of gastric juice, excess of unhealthy mucus in the stomach, in dyspepsia and intestinal irritation. The ripe fruit, if eaten regularly, corrects habitual constipation, bleeding piles and chronic diarrhea.
The digestive enzyme papian in the milky juice of the unripe papaya is a powerful anthelminitic for (i.e. which has the power to destroy) roundworms. Therefore the fresh juice of the unripe papaya if taken regularly eradicates this problem.
The juice of the raw papaya, being an irritant, is useful in several skin disorders. It is applied with beneficial results to swellings to prevent pus formation or suppuration and to corns, warts, pimples, horn, an excrescence or an abnormal outgrowth of the skin and other skin diseases. The juice as a cosmetic, removes freckles or brown spots due to exposure to sunlight and makes the skin smooth and delicate.
The unripe papaya helps the contraction of the muscle fibres of the womb and is thus beneficial in securing proper menstrual flow. It is especially helpful in case of cessation of menstruation due to exposure to the cold or due to fright in young girls.
Fresh juice of the papaya mixed with honey can be applied with beneficial results over inflamed tonsils for diphtheria and other throat disorders. It dissolves the membrane and prevents infection from spreading.
Ripe papaya is highly beneficial in enlargement of the spleen. The fruit should be taken liberally in these kind of conditions. Slices of raw fruit with cumin seeds and pepper can also be used once daily to cure enlargement of the spleen due to malaria.
Protection Against Heart Disease:
Papayas may be very helpful for the prevention of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. Papayas are an excellent source of vitamin C as well as a very good source of beta-carotene, very powerful antioxidants. They are also a very good source of fiber, which has been shown to lower high cholesterol levels.
The nutrients in papaya have also been shown to be helpful in the prevention of colon cancer. Papaya’s fiber is able to bind to cancer-causing toxins in the colon and keep them away from the healthy colon cells. In addition, papaya’s folate, vitamin C, beta-carotene, have each been associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer. Increasing your intake of these nutrients by enjoying papaya is an especially good idea for individuals at risk of colon cancer.
The fiber found in papayas may also help with the symptoms of those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. In addition, vitamin C and vitamin A, which is made in the body from the beta-carotene in papaya, are both needed for the proper function of a healthy immune system. Papaya may therefore be a healthy fruit choice for preventing such illnesses as recurrent ear infections, colds and flu.
Papaya is used in a variety of ways. The ripe fresh fruits are eaten throughout the tropics for breakfast and dessert, and in fruit salads. They are used for making soft drinks, jams, and ice cream flavourings. They are also canned in syrup. Unripe fruits are generally taken as a vegetable or turned into mouthwatering pickles.
Quick look on how papaya is good for you:
- Has more carotene compared to other fruits.
- Contains very less calories.
- Will ensure a good supply of vitamin A and C.
- Is an excellent aid to digestion.
- Can be prescribed for dyspeptic patients.
- Is an ideal food for invalids.
- Can be used as tenderizer in cooking.
- Is reported to speed up healing.
Yummy yummy Papayas need to be a regular in our diets.
Do you have any yummy papaya uses and recipes you want to share? Comment away….. 🙂
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