The Papaya is an exotic and delicious fruit that has recently been making its way into some doctor prescriptions due to its abundance of nutrients and medicinal components.
It is a sweet and musk-scented fruit with a shape that resembles a large pear. When ripened, it has a soft texture and a yellowish-orange color. The fleshy part of a Papaya is consumed by peeling off the outer skin and slicing it to pieces, similar to that of a mango. It is more delicious if it is cooled a little after this cutting process. It may taste a little different at first since it is not as sweet as some other fruits are, but one can often get used to its unique taste in time.
Considering the total amount of tropical fruit production in the world, papaya comes in third with 15.4%, ranking after mango with 52.9%, and pineapple with 26.6%. Interestingly enough, Christopher Columbus called papaya the “Fruit of the Angels” when he first tasted it. The Papaya plant begins to bear fruit within three years after being planted, and today can be grown in almost all seasons of the year with its peak season extending from early summer to fall. Papayas are not resistant to the cold and only naturally grow in tropical climates, however it is possible to grow them in non-tropical regions as well by using green houses.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of scientific studies done on tropical fruits and vegetables in general. The particular reason for this interest is the very fact that tropical fruits are endowed with very special substances that strengthen the immune system. While warm weather and abundant precipitation in tropical climates can provide a suitable environment for the reproduction of germs, and thus epidemics, fruits that boost the immune system are welcome as a very important means to cure and stave off these diseases. Evidently, Earth is fashioned like a special pharmacy for us that is full of remedies of all kinds of different shapes and sizes.
As one of these potential cures that is continuing to receive growing scientific interest, the papaya has already been used for a long time in traditional medicine against asthma, skin and stomach ulcers, intestinal parasitic-worm diseases, eczema, diabetes, and various fever conditions. In addition, research in recent years indicated that this fruit played a positive role at healing of wounds, treating cardiovascular diseases, cancer, fungal diseases, malaria, and Dengue fever—a viral epidemic peculiar to hot climates that is transmitted through mosquitoes and characterized by severe joint and muscle aches. It was also found that the papaya is beneficial against high levels of lipids in blood and sudden decreases in blood sugar.
Papaya fruits contain substances with medical benefits such as antioxidants, beta-carotene, vitamins A, B, and C, potassium, magnesium, pantothenic acid, folic acid, and fibers, which are very significant for the normal functioning of the body and are blessed with curative properties. All of these vitamins and minerals are effective in strengthening one’s metabolism. Papayas can help reduce the risk of colon cancer thanks to its contents of folic acid, vitamin C, beta-carotene and vitamin E.
If taken regularly, it speeds up the metabolism and allows the burning of fats for energy production. The burning of fats has many key benefits for a person, especially in relation to their cardiovascular health. Additionally, the fact that they are rich in vitamin A helps to prevent lung problems. People prone to lung cancer can consider adding this fruit to their daily diet.
The papaya is a long sustaining food since it is one of the few fruits with a very high fiber content, thus making it the perfect fruit for those who wish to lose weight. Papayas help the human body to fight against diseases thanks to its vitamin content, which is also important for maintaining skin health.
A digestive enzyme called “papain” has been discovered in papayas. Papain turned out to be effective in treating wounds and allergies, especially digestive system problems. One study indicated that, thanks to their anti-inflammatory and immune-modulator properties, papayas can be useful against many chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Strengthening the immune system is beneficial in order to help prevent infections such as the flu, a very timely concern considering much of the world is still grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic. The enzyme “chymopapain,” although found in lesser amounts, also has similar effects.
Another study indicated that these enzymes, which also help with protein digestion, are beneficial against corneal deformations in the eye and with the treatment of insect stings. Research has shown that adding papaya to our diet is a great idea for reducing the risk of macular (yellow spot) degeneration, which occurs in the eyes as we age and can cause as much damage as eventual vision loss.
Inside the papaya are numerous black seeds that resemble black pepper seeds. These seeds are very useful for inducing detoxification of the body. It is known that these seeds are beneficial against certain kidney diseases along with infections of E. coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus. Additionally, the juice extracted from its seeds is effective for clearing the liver and getting rid of intestinal parasites. The seeds can be stored via drying and then consumed by crushing them into powder. This can be added to salads or consumed as a side dish.
The most important cause of strokes is cholesterol oxidation. Cholesterol begins to accumulate in the walls of blood vessels when it gets oxidized, and this accumulation can lead to paralysis due to plaques that form and hinder blood flow to the brain. Since papayas are rich in antioxidants they help to prevent cardiovascular diseases caused by atherosclerosis and diabetes by preventing the oxidation of cholesterol and lowering its level in blood stream,
Some studies suggest that papayas increase the risk of miscarriage in pregnant women when eaten excessively. The details of what causes this condition are still under research. Apart from this specific risk, there seems to be no known drawback for consuming papayas. However, it is common wisdom that one should enact balance and moderation, even when consuming beneficial things. It is also helpful to search for cures from multiple sources instead of relying upon just one. Perhaps serious and extensive studies in the future will unearth further interesting facts about other blessed fruits that are endowed with different curative properties.