Papaya–A Treasure Trove of Health Benefits

Papaya–A Treasure Trove of Health Benefits

Papaya is known as the "fruit of longevity," as its fruit, leaves, seeds, and latex all have healing properties. Dr. Liu Chun, a medical doctor at the University of Tokyo, stated that papaya has various health benefits such as protecting eyesight, anti-oxidation, anti-cancer, and lowering blood pressure.

Papaya belongs to the Caricaceae family and contains antioxidant nutrients such as carotenoids, vitamins C and B, flavonoids, folic acid, pantothenic acid, potassium, and magnesium.

Dr. Liu told The Epoch Times that papaya seeds, which have a bitter peppery taste can be eaten to treat cholera according to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Boiling the branches, leaves, skin, or roots in water can help relieve vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle spasms. Papaya slices can also be used to treat athletes' foot.

Nutritional Composition and Efficacy Analysis of Papayas

1. Carotenoids

Mizuho Tachihara, a nutritionist from Japan, said that carotenoids can be converted into vitamin A according to the body's needs, which can help to maintain eye moisture and protect the retina and cornea, thus preventing dry eyes and night blindness.
In addition, papayas contain flavonoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin. Therefore, eating more papayas can prevent dry eyes, protect eye mucosa, and enhance immunity.

2. Folic Acid

Keitaro Matsuo, a medical doctor and cancer prevention expert from Aichi Cancer Center Research Institute in Japan, proposed that supplementing folic acid can reduce the risk of colon cancer because it can repair cell genes and inhibit the occurrence of colon polyps and cancer.

3. Magnesium and Potassium

Liu said that magnesium has the effect of lowering blood pressure and improving inflammation and insomnia symptoms. Potassium can regulate the sodium content in the body and improve hypertension symptoms through urination. Potassium can also lower blood pressure.

4. Lycopene

In addition to containing antioxidant carotenes, papaya also contains lycopene, which has an antioxidant effect 100 times stronger than vitamin E and can detoxify free radicals.
An article published in Roczniki Panstwowego Zakladu Higieny in 2014 pointed out that lycopene is an oxidant with radiation protection and anti-cancer properties. Tomatoes, watermelons, pink grapefruits, apricots, pink pomegranates, and papayas all contain lycopene. Regular consumption can reduce the risk of many organ cancers while delaying tumor growth.

5. Vitamin C

Vitamin C has excellent antioxidant effects. It restores skin elasticity and promotes liver cell regeneration and repair while reducing the risk of arthritis.
Vitamin C is water-soluble and works in the cell's aqueous compartment. As vitamin C does not absorb ultraviolet rays, it neutralizes free radicals to protect against ultraviolet rays, which cannot be seen in sunscreen products. Experiments have shown that applying 10 percent topical vitamin C reduces redness caused by ultraviolet radiation by 52 percent while reducing sunburn cell formation by 40 to 60 percent.
However, Liu reminds readers that the following people should avoid eating papaya:
  • Pregnant women—papaya contains natural latex components that can cause uterine contractions and are unsuitable for pregnant women.
  • Latex allergy sufferers.
  • Kidney disease patients—especially those undergoing dialysis or those with hyperkalemia should not eat papaya.
  • People with excessive stomach acid.
Liu said that papaya flesh and other fruits could be made into a fruit salad and can also be made into papaya milk. Papaya seeds can be eaten directly and have a bitter and peppery taste.
Kane Zhang is a reporter based in Japan. She has written on health topics for The Epoch Times since 2022, mainly focusing on Integrative Medicine. She also reports on current affairs related Japan and China.
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