Papaya is a colorful, pear-shaped fruit. Its skin is yellow, and its flesh varies from pink to bright orange. Its center is composed of small black seeds. Ripe, it is sweet and juicy. Some say its flavor is similar to that of a cantaloupe. Papaya is rich in many vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants including vitamin C, folate, potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, carotenes, flavonoids, B vitamins, magnesium and pantothenic acid. Its vitamin concentration in works well to help avert the oxidation of cholesterol. When cholesterol is allowed to oxidize, it adheres to and accumulates in the walls of blood vessels. Therefore, its supplement may help ward off atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. In addition, the carotenoids, antioxidants and vitamins in papaya can help keep your eyes healthy. In fact, they may also reduce the risk of macular degeneration, an age-related condition resulting in loss of vision.
The vitamins and nutrients in papaya are definitely beneficial, but the primary therapeutic benefit is derived from its enzyme, papain. Papain is a cysteine protease enzyme that is well known for its various digestive health benefits. Papaya has been used for its medicinal benefits since the 18th century, but it wasn’t until 1870 when the papain enzyme itself was discovered. Since that time, extensive research has been performed on its health benefits.
Papaya helps sooth the digestive system
- As a useful digestive enzyme, papain helps the stomach to break down protein easily in order to facilitate the absorption of nutrients.
- Its anti-inflammatory effects also helps soothe the stomach when it is upset.
- It has been shown to be effective in treating ulcers.
- Papain has been shown to help in regulating irritable bowel syndrome.
- It helps to facilitate proper digestion and dissolves fats, relieving heartburn.
- The enzymes also have been effective in relieving various food allergies.
Papaya helps maintain healthy-looking skin
- Its enzymes help to soften the texture of the skin by dissolving various fats.
- These enzymes are also helpful in treating swelling and bruising by reducing swelling.
- Papain is known to help in cleaning the dead cells/tissues in the body, leaving healthy-looking skin.
- Papain is also effective in curbing swelling that develops after surgery.
Papaya helps alleviate the symptoms of colds and flu.
- Its enzymes reduce swelling and thin mucous.
- Studies have revealed that papain helps in alleviate sore throat swelling as well as sinus pain.
- Various studies have proven that papain is an excellent immunostimulant, which helps in boosting our immune system.
Papaya promotes healing.
- With its anti-inflammatory effects, it helps reduce the pain and swelling of sprains/strains.
- It reduces the swelling and speeds up the healing of burns.
- It helps in the treatment of cold sores.
- It helps promote wound healing, although this has not been scientifically proven as of yet.
You don’t need to consume papain supplements to gain its benefits; these benefits can be enjoyed by eating the papaya fruit as well. However, if you do want to take the supplements, they come in the form of tablets as well as powder. The supplements are generally produced by collecting the latex from the papaya fruit by scoring its neck. The latex is either allowed to dry on the fruit itself or to drip inside a container suspended from the fruit. Following this step, it is allowed to dry until it becomes a dry and crude material. This is followed by a purification step in order to remove all the contaminants from it, and then the purified enzyme is supplied in the form of papain tablets or papain powder. Like any other nutritional supplements an overdose of papaya enzyme can also lead to papaya enzyme side effects, and hence it’s important to have it in smaller doses. Ideally, one should have a nutritional diet with a small amount of papaya enzymes in it. These enzymes are very effective, and even a little amount of papaya enzymes is enough to keep you healthy and for tackling various disorders.