By Edeline Anne Goh
It is believed that Christopher Columbus, the Spanish explorer who discovered North America, loved the sweet, buttery texture and taste of the papaya so much that he called it ‘the fruit of the angels’. Centuries later, many will agree with Columbus’ memorable description.
The papaya is grown in most tropical climates all year round and is easily available in many countries across Asia, including our own. Its wallet-friendly price, pleasing taste and high nutritional value are just some of the traits that make this fruit so popular. You can enjoy a slice or two of papaya before or after meals, you can eat it chilled, topped with cereal or yogurt or even mash it up and use it as a face mask!
Read on and discover the health benefits of this popular, cheerfully orange fruit.
Gut and Colon Health
The papaya’s rich nutritional content especially in beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C and fibre helps to aid digestion and improve colon health. In fact, its multiple nutritional benefits are believed to help prevent constipation and possibly even colon cancer. So, the next time you’re finding it a little difficult to do ‘number 2’, a slice or two of papaya might do wonders!
Easy on the Stomach
Excellent for little ones and for the elderly, the texture of the papaya makes it easily digestible. It can be mashed so that minimal chewing is required. The best part? Mashing does not remove any of its nutritional value so you can still enjoy the full benefits of the fruit plus, its sweet taste may just be the solution you’re looking for — especially if you have a fussy toddler to feed!
Papain is an enzyme found in the papaya and it is believed to have anti-inflammatory attributes. In fact, together with the papaya’s other nutritional values, papain may relieve sinusitis, arthritis and even asthmatic symptoms. Some swear by what the papaya can do to boost their bone and joint health. However, more research is needed to prove the papaya’s ability to ease joint pain. Either way, there’s certainly no in harm trying!
According to Manfred Koch, author of the book Laugh with Health: The complete guide to Health, Diet, Nutrition and Natural Foods, papain is also known for its healing power. If you have a cut or a burn, don’t forget to get some papaya to naturally heal your wound. All you need to do is to directly apply clean papaya skin on the affected area. Believe it or not, it’s that simple!
Just like carrots, papayas are rich in Vitamin A, which is a very important nutrient for your eyes. Due to its high levels of antioxidants, the papaya can prevent the degeneration of your retina and helps to protect you from cataract and macular degeneration.
This rich source of vitamin C will definitely help to build your body’s defense system, ensuring that you are protected from harmful germs and bacteria. Enhance your immune system by enjoying a few slices of papaya for breakfast or during the day as a delicious, yet nutritional snack.
Are cracked heels getting on your nerves? Maybe you’re fed up of the dry and flaky skin on your body? All you need to do is blend or mash the flesh of a ripe papaya and apply it to the affected area. The humble papaya is applauded by many beauty enthusiasts for its moisturising and anti-ageing properties. A big added bonus is that it is probably one of the most budget-friendly beauty remedies around.
Another beauty benefit of the papaya is its wonderful ability to enhance the health of your hair. This amazing fruit can help reduce hair and scalp problems such as oily scalp, dandruff or weak hair roots. In fact, many consider the papaya as an effective hair loss remedy. To enjoy the papaya’s hair healing benefits, you can choose to consume the papaya or use it as a topical treatment.
Loving the benefits of this amazing fruit? Since we live in an ideal, tropical climate, you might want to consider growing a papaya tree or two to ensure that you have a fresh supply of organically grown papayas in your own backyard. We’re pretty sure you won’t regret it!
You probably love the delicious taste of the flesh of the papaya but did you know that its seeds can be eaten too? Most people choose to discard the seeds due to its bitter and peppery flavour but you might want to think twice before you do the same. A small amount of papaya seeds contain anti-bacterial properties that can be good for you!