Have you heard the phrase “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”? In Spain, they have a similar phrase, “A papaya a day keeps the doctor away.”
But just how true is this?
This tropical fruit doesn’t just taste delicious and sweet,;it’s nutritional properties and known across the world, particularly for the enzyme papain.
What is papain good for?
In the process of digestion, food is broken up and mixed with saliva to make an alimentary bolus. This bolus then makes its way to the stomach. Once there, pepsin, and enzyme in the gastric juices, breaks up the proteins so that they can be absorbed by the small intestines.
Then it’s papain’s turn. It’s responsible for breaking down the proteins and neutralising the gastric acids. This way the stomach can work much more quickly.
Properties of Papain
- It’s a powerful digestive and anti-inflammatory agent.
- It has analgesic properties.
- It works as an antiseptic.
- Papain has detoxifying, diuretic and depurative properties.
- It cleans the digestive mucosa.
- It destroys intestinal amoebas.
- It’s rich in potassium and low in sodium, which is ideal for people with hypertension or cardiovascular problems.
Nutrients in papayas
- Papain: Very similar to pepsin, helps to digest proteins, is a digestive stimulant and anti-inflammatory.
- Carpaine: An alkaloid which helps facilitate the digestion of meats and dense goods. Furthermore, it reduces cardiac insufficiency and episodes of tachycardia.
Types of papaya
Across the world, there are about 50 distinct types of papaya. However, they can all generally be classified as follows:
- Golden: a small papaya that weighs between 400 and 600 grams.
- Hawaiian: a fruit in the shape of a bulb that tastes sweeter than other varieties.
- Formosa: it’s size varies greatly, it has reddish flesh, and it’s a more cylindrical shape.
Benefits of papaya
The papaya is not just rich in papain, but also contains a lot of vitamin A, B, C, and E. It’s rich in magnesium and potassium, all of which make it fantastic for your health.
Below, we’ll reveal the more specific benefits of papaya:
1. It helps you control your weight
Papain helps the break down of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Papain is also more efficient that pepsin, an enzyme found in the stomach.
2. It’s ideal for diabetics
The juice of the papaya helps reduce levels of glucose in the blood, and accelerates the regeneration of beta cells, as well as increasing the synthesis of insulin (Green papaya is especially good for this).
3. It improves digestion
Papain, phytonutrients and other enzymes improve the digestive process. This means that your body more easily gets rid of toxins.
4. It combats constipation
As well as all the previous benefits we’ve mentioned, papaya is also rich in fiber, which absorbs water and improves the consistency of waste.
This means that it cleans your stomach and makes it easier to get rid of waste that normally remains in the colon and intestines.
5. It makes wounds heal quicker
When it comes to your skin skin, one of papaya’s most useful enzymes is protease. This helps wounds heal quicker. Furthermore, papaya provides nutrients and vitamins that improve the condition of you skin and reduce inflammation.
6. It improves lactation for women
Papain improves the function of the endocrine glands, which increases the production of milk in mothers who are breastfeeding.
7. It reduces menstrual cramps
Eating papaya increases the levels of oxytocin and prostaglandin in women. Because of this, it causes light contractions in the uterus, which reduce pain overall.
- The papaya you choose should be ripe to make sure you get the most nutritional benefits.
- Papayas taste better when they’re served cold.
- When eating it with other fruits, it’s important that they’re also sweet, such as banana. If you eat it with citrus fruits, it can affect the make up of acids in the stomach.
- You can also drink papaya juice or flavoured waters.