Published : 05/18/2018
As we are embracing a new summer season, our palates are yearning for more tropical flavours and fragrances around us. Papayas not only taste like palm trees and beaches, but they also harbour all the healing powers our bodies need when exposed to tropical temperatures.
While the pulp of the fruit most often gets the credit, the black little pips hidden in the inside are the main players when it comes to the fruit’s proven health benefits. And if you ever travelled in the tropics and know what it means to have diarrhoea, you probably already came across the local advice to ingest raw papaya pips. Native to the lush tropical regions of South America and Mexico, indigenous people have known about the healing powers of papayas for centuries. Even Christoph Columbus described papayas as “the fruit of the angels”.
Now, also western medicine begins to uncover the many health benefits of this tropical power fruit. Modern research has confirmed the phytonutrients in papaya as antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and wound healing. The fruit is also more and more associated to help against cancer and heart disease. Unsurprisingly, papaya is a rising star in the cosmetic industry, where it is cherished for its anti-aging properties.
The reason why papaya deals so effectively with an upset stomach is because it contains the compound “papain”. This is an enzyme that triggers chemical reactions in our digestive tract, whereby proteins are split into amino acids and thus become available for our body to absorb. Papain also fights bad bacteria in our gut and thus helps to reinstall a healthy microflora, which will in the end strengthen our immune system. Furthermore, papaya is rich in a number of essential nutrients with important antioxidant functions. Especially abundant are vitamin A, C and E as well as beta-carotin. It also contains valuable magnesium, potassium and B-vitamins and the digestion-improving fibre.
So instead of popping pills next time you have an upset stomach, get yourself a papaya and naturally restore yourself.