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Health Benefits of Carica papaya (Papaw, Papaya)

Image of Carica papaya

Family: Caricaceae

Botanically classed as a large berry, the papaya belongs to the Caricaeae family and is a tropical, palm-like plant. Common names for the fruit include papaya and tree melon, depending on the country in which it is grown. The papaya (Carica papaya) originates from Mexico and Central America and is now cultivated widely in tropical and subtropical regions of the world.

It is eaten raw as a fruit and contains high levels of Vitamins A and C and a phytochemical called beta-cryptoxanthin that promotes health. It also contains papain, which is an antibacterial protease enzyme that has meat tenderising properties and is used for clarifying beer. Flowers of papaya trees can be male, female or both (hermaphrodite) and have a sweet-scented smell at night that attracts pollinating moths.

Papaya is rich in enzymes called papain and chymopapain which helps with the digestion, particularly it breaks down the proteins from the food we eat into amino acids. The latest research shows that amino acids are responsible for all what is happening in our organism, basically for what is happening in every chemical reaction as well as our mental and physical health. As we age we produce less of the digestive enzymes in our stomach and pancreas, which leads to ineffective digestion of proteins. Due to this we end up with excess amount of undigested protein, which leads to overgrowth of the bad bacteria in our gastrointestinal system and not enough of amino acids to perform all important chemical reactions. We can say that good quality protein is absolutely essential for our healthy being. This is where the papaya enzymes can be very beneficial.

The papain enzymes are produced in the skinny peel of paw paw. The combination of these enzymes repels insect during the ripening, without this protection paw paw fruit would not survive. Eating papaya after a meal makes for better digestion, prevents bloating and chronic indigestion. It can also lower the inflammation in the body, alleviates the pain and edema caused by sport injuries. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties papaya can relieve the severity of Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Because of its high antioxidant content, papaya can prevent cholesterol oxidation and can be use in a preventative treatments against atherosclerosis, strokes, heart attacks and diabetic heart disease.

In a everyday health papaya works magic on strengthening the immune system preventing the recurrent colds and flu. After treatment with antibiotics eating papaya or drinking its juice replenishes the good intestinal bacteria, which was destroyed by the antibiotic treatment. The latest good news from eating paw paw comes down once again to papain the enzyme which I talked about, it was found to destroy intestinal parasites. Papain is proteolitic enzyme, which means that it digests inert (non-living) proteins. Intestinal parasites are largely protein, the papain attacks it and causes parasite to die. Also, home applications of leaf and bark papaya extract is used to deal with mouth gums and toothaches which is being effectively practised in many cultures around the world.

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