The papaya fruit is a very rich source for carotenes, vitamins, mineral and antioxidants such as flavonoids, anthocyanins and carotenoids. Its bright orange/yellow colors show a similar importance to that of carrots due to containing beta-carotene and lycopene.
A cup sized serving of papaya flesh provides a high amount of vitamin A “1,380 IU”, 88 mg of vitamin C, 3.8 microgram of vitamin K, 30 mg of magnesium, 29 mg of calcium, 264 mg of potassium and 2.5g of fibers.
Importance in digestion:Papaya is highly important for digestion as it contains proteolytic enzyme that helps increasing digestion after heavy meals, and basically helps in digesting proteins. That enzyme is found in similar colored fruits; for example you may eat a small piece of orange peel to enhance the digestion and get rid of gases or abdominal problems.
The proteolytic enzyme found in papaya is called “papain”, and you can obtain it either by eating papaya before meals to stimulate digestion enzymes or you can seek papain supplements.
Importance for old people:Some may not give attention to that enzyme, thinking that a healthy diet will certainly lead to easy digestions and no abdominal problems. But in fact, the elderly people may need that fruits more than normal people because aging depletes the secretion of digestive enzymes and makes it harder for the body to absorb nutrients. That, in most cases, leads to gases, discomfort after eating and colon problems. Thus, there appears a major need for something that is easily digested and at the same time rich in nutrients to compensate the deficiency and provide enough fibers.
Antifungal effect and benefits of seeds:As papayas are rich in antioxidant flavonoids, minerals and vitamins, they should naturally have a wide antifungal effect and great effect on health in general. Moreover, a study that was published in 2011, in the Indian journal of pharmaceutical sciences, stated that compounds extracted from papaya seeds have antifungal effect against Candida Albicans and Aspergillus flavus, which is a type of fungi that infects grains and develop carcinogenic compounds ‘called Aflatoxin’.
Effect on wounds and nervous system:Papaya fruit is always recommended for a healthy nervous system as they protect the nerves’ cells from damages caused by certain compounds, such as hydrogen peroxide, and also the damage that results from stress and aging.
Home remedies and products that are made from papaya extract are useful for nerves, skin and digestion. The unripe papaya fruit contains a high amount of papain enzyme, which is suitable for curing some skin diseases, wounds and burns. The antioxidant content, which means antifungal effect, in papayas makes them suitable for face masks and wound healing.