Papaya is refreshingly sweet, delicious and nourishing fruit. Its orange colored flesh can have pink or yellow hues depending on the place of origin. Papaya is available throughout the year.
Unripe papaya is green and edible. Even the black colored granular seeds are also edible but don't taste good.
Papaya contains papain -an enzyme that helps break down proteins during the digestion process. Unripe papaya contains much higher concentrations of papain as compared to the ripe papaya. in addition, papaya is rich in antioxidants and also contains vitamin C, folate,fiber, vitamin A,magnesium1,potassium,copper and pantothenic acid.
A small papaya or 500gm of papaya flesh almost contains daily value DV of Vitamin C.
There are numerous health benefits of eating papaya, more prominent ones are described below.
1. Papaya Enzyme Helps Digestion:
Major digestion problems occur when the undigested or partially digested food reaches the lower intestine. This happens particularly in the case of eating large quantities of meat with fast speed. The natural digestive enzymes produced in the pancreas and stomach acids generally can’t meet the digestion requirements under those conditions.
All sorts of digestive problems can begin with this partial digestion, which can have long term implications. The immediate manifestation is stomach gases or flatulence.
Unlike carbohydrates, which get digested by saliva produced during chewing, proteins do not get digested by saliva. Protein digestion has a different mechanism. Protein gets digested with the help of proteolytic enzymes produced in the pancreas.
Papaya helps digesting proteins well. These digestive benefits of papaya comes from various proteolytic (protein digesting) enzymes. One enzyme of papaya is papain which is very similar to the digestive juice pepsin. An important characteristic of papain is that it breaks down proteins. Papain extract is used as a meat tenderizer. Other enzymes include chymopapain, caricain and glycyl endopeptidase.
Papain is one of the most powerful enzymes to breakdown meat and other proteins. It breaks complex bonds of protein down to individual amino acids which are ready for use for repair and growth of the body.
There is a big scientific debate on the usefulness of papain in the digestive system. One school of thought believes that the high concentration of stomach acids will destroy papain and it will not be able to do the required breaking down of the proteins.The other school of thoughts suggests that, though major part of papain may get destroyed by the stomach acids, some part will be effective once its passes through the small intestine which is more alkaline.
Green papaya contains papain and is not as tasty as the ripe yellow orange ripe papaya. So to balance the taste and its health benefits eat a semi ripe papaya which is comparatively hard in texture.
Green papaya capsules are gaining popularity. Whichever way you take this papain , it is going to give you long term health benefits particularly from those health problems that originates in the stomach such as indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome , fungal candida overgrowth, ulcers, and intestinal cancers.
2. Helps Reducing Weight
Everyone is weight conscious today. We are the weight gaining population. Our sedentary lifestyle and eating habits are the main reasons for weight gain. We must watch the number of calories we consume on a daily basis.
Papaya can help weight reduction. It is tasty and filling fruit with tons of nutrients. It contains a good amount of dietary fiber which makes it easy to digest without trouble. A medium size papaya contains 120 calories only. Eating about 200gm of papaya will satiate your appetite and will just add 60-80 calories. This is a great weight reducing snack.
Weight reduction occurs when we consume less calories and burn the extra calories with the help of exercise. Eating almost all sorts of fruits and vegetables, except for a few exceptions will help you in low calorie consumption to satiate your craving for food. Papaya is one of the best choice as it is not only low in calories or delicious but also helps in digestion of proteins as explained above.
3. Lowers Cholesterol
Clogging of arteries is an epidemic today. Almost every second person is suffering from high cholesterol levels which is the main cause of artery blockages. Eating the right kinds of foods and following regular exercise regime are the real solutions to protect yourself from atherosclerosis.
Papaya has no cholesterol and contains low calories. This is the ideal combination to remain heart healthy. Not only that, Papaya contains high concentrations of beneficial minerals such as; of Potassium, magnesium and Copper. It is a very high source of potassium which stops the cholesterol from clinging to the arteries.
Potassium also balances the ill effect of Sodium and reduces the LDL in the blood which is the main glue for cholesterol to stick to the arteries.
4. Lessens Pain of Arthritis
Papaya is good for your bones because of its noninflammatory characteristics, and its high Vitamin C content which helps absorption of calcium. This reduces joint pains caused by arthritis.
5. Reduces Stress
High concentration of Vitamin C in papaya makes it a perfect stress buster. Vitamin C helps to feel good. When you feel stressed out, just stop doing what is keeping your mind engaged and stressed. If you can manage to get company of family and friends then it is even better. But if you can't, then it is still OK. Eat 200 gms of papaya slowly. Listen to soothing music or engage in some physical activities.
Papaya helps regulating hormones to reduce stress.
6. Prevents Colon Cancer
Main cause of colon cancer is bad metabolism and inadequate digestion which leads to oxidation. Papaya is a rich source of antioxidants, beta carotenes, folate and Vitamin C which helps reducing possibilities of acquiring cancer. The enzyme papain keep the digestive tract in order and the antioxidants keep the cancer causing free radicals at bay. This helps the colon to remain cancer free.
7. Delays Aging Process
No one wants to get old but we just can't go against the nature. We are all compelled by time and nature to grow and age. But we don't have to look and feel old before we really are very old. Our daily routine and habits can have positive or significantly adverse impact on our skin where the manifestation of aging begins.
Papaya with its high antioxidant contents and richness in Vitamin A helps skin cells to retard the aging process. it helps replacement of dead cells with new cells fast. This nourishment to the skin makes the skin look younger and vital.
You can shed 5-10 years of your age signs by eating 200gm of papaya daily.