Food Facts - Fruits

  Papaya

 Fruits

Papaya, also known as Carica Papaya, is commercially famous for its high nutritive and medicinal value.The health benefits of papaya include improved digestion, enhanced immune system and the promotion of healthy heart. Papaya is also believed to prevent cancer. It is a natural source of vitamins and minerals that are essential for the normal functioning of the body. Papaya has been famous for hundreds of years and it was once called the “fruit of the angels” by Christopher Columbus.

It is rich in antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, flavonoids and vitamin C, as well as vitamin B (folate and pantothenic acid). It is also a good source of fiber and minerals such as magnesium. Together, these nutrients help to improve cardiovascular health and protect against colon cancer.

Health Benefits of Papaya

Improved Digestion : Papayas are commonly used to aid digestion. The presence of papain, a digestive super enzyme, improves digestion by breaking down proteins and also cleanses the digestive tract. This ensures a reduced conversion of protein into body fat. If the protein in our diet is not digested properly, it may cause arthritis, constipation, diabetes, high blood pressure and other related health conditions.

Weight Loss : Papayas are also good for people who are trying to lose weight naturally. Having a bowl full of papaya as a mid-evening or mid-morning snack is good for health.
Prevents Infections: Papayas are effective for killing intestinal worms, thereby avoiding infections and complications associated with them.

Skin Care : Papaya can be great revitalizing agent for skin which is why it is used in cosmetics and also as a homemade face masks by many women. Papain kills dead cells and purifies the skin. The beneficial properties and the healing enzymes present in papayas help treat sunburn and irritated skin. The latex obtained from papayas is used to treat the areas on the skin affected with acne.

Anticancer Properties : Researchers have discovered that papayas are effective against breast, pancreatic and other cancers. The scientists exposed different types of cancer-affected cells to different papaya leaf extracts and found that the growth of tumors had slowed down in all the cultures. The fruit has gained credibility and has been used in many western medicines for its anticancer powers.

Improved Heart Health : The seeds of papayas are good for a healthy heart. Being rich in three powerful antioxidant vitamins, namely vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E, means that papayas are helpful in preventing problems such as atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. The presence of pro- carotenoid phytonutrients helps prevent oxidization of the cholesterol in the body. When oxidation of cholesterol takes place, it sticks to the walls of the blood vessels and forms plaque that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Vitamin E and vitamin C obtained from papayas will help in preventing the cholesterol from sticking to the walls, thereby keeping your heart healthy. As a good source of fiber, papayas also helps to reduce the cholesterol levels in the body.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects : The enzymes present in papayas, especially the papain and chymopapain, reduce the inflammation in different parts of the body.

Treating Constipation : The presence of folate, vitamin C and vitamin E in papayas reduces motion sickness by producing a tonic effect in the stomach and in the intestines. Papaya juice and the ripened form of papaya also help to aid digestion. The fiber obtained from the fruit helps to increase bowel movements.
Menstruation: Papaya juice can be of great help for women with irregular periods. Consumption of green, unripe papayas can also normalize the irregularity in the periodic cycle.

Arthritis : Papayas have been known to be effective against rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. One of the enzymes found in papayas, called chemopapain, has a significant effect on controlling rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Boosts Immunity: Papaya consumption has also been linked to improvement in the immune system of the body. Research conducted has proved that the antioxidants present in papaya play an important role in improving the immunity system of people.

Some Side Effects of Papayas

Consumption of papaya in normal dietary amounts is recognized as safe. However, there are a certain side effects of consuming papaya.

Papaya is Harmful For Pregnant Women : Papaya is classified as being harmful during pregnancy. It is considered as a ‘hot’ fruit. Latex, present in high concentrations in raw and semi-ripe papayas, causes uterine contractions which might lead to abortions so it shouldbe avoided in pregnancy.

Gastrointestinal Irritation : Consuming large quantities of papaya can cause a powerful laxative effect in the intestines. Avoid eating large quantities of papaya, especially if it is in its raw form. Unripe or raw fruit can cause pain in the intestines or stomach, and can sometimes cause esophageal perforations.

Seeds :
The black seeds of the papaya contain traces of an enzyme called carpine, which is a potentially toxic substance. According to the International BioPark Foundation’s information about Medicinal Plants of the Peruvian Amazon, this enzyme can make the nerve centers numb, which could lead to paralysis or cardiac depression. In some cases, the narrowing of blood vessels is also seen, which is the caused due to Carpine or carparine.

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