Published: 02/19/2013 - Updated: 10/26/2018
Papaya is an oval and yellow tropical fruit with sweet and juicy pulp of the same color.
The plant is a tree of the family of Caricaceae which reaches four meters, native from tropical America (Mexico and Central America), and is widely cultivated in almost all tropical regions of the world.
Different types of papayas
In Mexico, papaya has different types, such as:
- Green Papaya: variable size, with rough looking skin, and it reaches maturity without being yellow.
- Yellow Papaya: its maturity is noticeable when it has green and yellow longitudinal streaks.
- Mamey Papaya: The fruit pulp has the same color as the mamey.
- Chichona Papaya: it is the largest of all, is characterized by a bump on the tip of the fruit.
- Bird Papaya: the fruit is smaller in size and taste very nice.
Protection against cancer
Like other fruits with orange pigmentation, papaya is a source of beta carotene, which helps to prevent damage caused by free radicals that result in degenerative diseases, such as cancer or Alzheimer's disease.
Half a medium sized papaya contains enough vitamin C to meet the daily requirement in an adult, and small amounts of calcium and iron.
The papaya pulp is an ideal food for the elderly or sick people, because it can be chewed and swallowed easily.
When you take it after meals, it stimulates digestion, favoring the action of digestive juices, especially in cases of dyspepsia in the absence of gastric juice secretion.
Papain, beneficial substance
The papaya plant is in great demand due to a milky juice that contains an enzyme called "papain", rich in vitamins and very similar to pepsin, which produces the digestive system to break down proteins, which is why it is used in medicine in the treatment of dyspepsia and other gastrointestinal disorders and in the preparation of anthelmintic drugs.
This enzyme also has the ability to dissolve blood clots and some tumor types. Also, papain has pain-relieving properties, and has been used in some drugs to treat pain.
In industry, the papain is a much sought element as it is used for clarifying beer. The seeds, which are usually discarded, can be dried and used as seasoning.
Papain is also used in the manufacture of meat tenderizers and in the preparation of laundry detergents.
In the cosmetics industry, papain is used as an ingredient in creams and lotions for skin, as in the case of people who have freckles. In perfumery, papaya flowers are used for the aroma.
Other medicinal uses of papaya
Formerly papaya leaves were used as decoction, to combat some of the respiratory diseases such as asthma.
The juice that comes out of the leaves or the green fruit, mixed with milk or peppermint tea, was used to eliminate intestinal parasites.
The infusion of the flowers is used for inducing menstruation.
For its fiber content and papain, it has digestive properties that can help eradicate constipation problems.