Papaya, Paw Paw or Tree Melon is an oblong-shaped fruit or greenish yellow, yellow or orange color that grows on papaya trees and weighs around 2.5kg. Since it prefers humidity and warm temperatures papaya is native to Mexico, Central America, Thailand, Africa and Asia. It has a bitter sweet taste.
Papaya has many medical benefits and it does not contain harmful substances especially if grown organically. Parts of the plant that have medicinal use are the fruit, stems, leaves and the seed.
It can be used raw, as a juice, fermented or in the form of supplements.
Papaya is a great source of dietary fibers, vitamins A, C and E and folate. It contains iron, calcium, thiamine, niacine and riboflavin in smaller amounts. It is a good source of flavonoids and carotenes and it has a low calorie and sodium count.
One of the most important nutrients in papaya is papain, an enzyme that is very beneficial for digestion because it breaks down protein into amino acids. All the newer studies show that amino acids play an important role in almost all body functions and processes. Enzymes of papaya are produced mainly in the peel of the fruit.
Experts say that eating papaya after meals is very good for digestion as it prevents bloating and indigestion. Papaya can fight the inflammation reduce edema and pain due to sports injuries.
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory action, papaya can be useful for people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Papaya contains antioxidants which makes it an excellent way to reduce cholesterol which is important for prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
Even people who have no health conditions and illnesses can benefit from papaya because everyone can use a little immune boosting now and then, especially during cold and flu season.
Papaya juice helps restore the good bacteria in the stomach, which is especially important after illnesses and after taking antibiotics. Furthermore, papain, the enzyme found in papaya, has the ability to digest proteins which enables it to fight the intestinal parasites, made mainly of those proteins.
This fruit can come handy when a wound to the skin or a skin infection occur. Its skinny peel can be applied locally or an ointment made of papaya can be used instead. Whichever way it is used, it will accelerate the healing process.
Papaya has a high level of vitamin A, and can be used to prevent emphysema in smokers.
There has been some scientific prove that papaya can be very beneficial for people who have cancer especially colon cancer.