Papaya otherwise known as pawpaw or papaw has been famous for centuries of years for its luscious taste and sunlit color. However, progressive research keeps showing papaya’s health benefits are more than the sweet content.
Pawpaw is healthy for everyone to consume, but exceptionally great for the elderly because of its amazing health benefits. The scientific name of papaya is “Carica papaya” and its believed to have originated in Mexico and Central America before making its way to other parts of the world.
This tropical America native fruit can either be ripe or unripe. Pawpaw that is ripe is usually soft and appears yellowish-orange or red in color. While the unripe is usually green in skin color but white in flesh. Papaws come in a round or plum shape with different sizes. The black seed inside ripe pawpaw is naturally bitter in taste when you chew it.
Ripe papaya is very sweet in taste and can be eaten in its raw form. The unripe one is more or less without flavor and must be cooked before eating. Pregnant women should not eat raw pawpaw but if they have to, it should be properly cooked. The reason is due to the high latex content found in unripe papaw which can stimulate contractions in the body. In addition, papaw can be taken as a smoothie or used as a milkshake, or vegetable in different recipes of food.
Apart from the medicinal and therapeutic purposes, pawpaw can be useful in a good number of ways that may be beneficial to mankind. The potential nutritional benefits of consuming papaya are numerous to be counted. No wonder Christopher Columbus called it the fruit of the Angels!
Natural health practitioners, nutritionists, dietitians, including doctors and nurses recommend adding papaya to your diet as an elderly. This is because of the high amount of pantothenic acid, folate, flavonoids and carotenes, fiber and vitamin A, C and E contained.
Health benefit of eating Papaya (Pawpaw)
The health benefits of pawpaw(Papaya) can not be overemphasized. Pawpaw is highly recommended for older people due to its rich source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It’s thought to help protect against a number of health conditions common in aged people. The health benefits of eating pawpaw(Papaya) include: reduced risk of heart and eye disease, cancer, diabetes, and inflammatory diseases, manage stress and boost the immune system.
1. Reduced risk of heart disease
The strong antioxidants in papayas prevent cholesterol from oxidizing. Oxidized cholesterol usually builds up and then sticks to the blood vessel walls – causing a heart attack or stroke in the elderly. Having a healthy heart is one of the health benefits of papaya which is why it’s recommended for seniors. Elders who consume pawpaw everyday may have healthy aging and avoid any cardiovascular disease.
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2. Lower risk of eye disease
Papaya fruit is thought to be very effective in controlling premature aging. It helps the body to properly digest consumed food which in turn keeps the digestive system healthy. The antioxidant in papaw protects the eyes from age-related macular degeneration that can lead to blindness, distorted vision, and blurriness. People above 62 years of age are commonly affected by these conditions which can be prevented by adding pawpaw to their daily diets.
In addition, the health benefits of papaya can be gained also by just consuming papaw leaves. It helps improve human sight. Pawpaw leaves have a high concentration of beta-carotene (vitamin A) which is very essential for great eyes. It will help seniors’ eyes to stay healthy and away from various eye problems and diseases.
3. Protect against cancers
A study by the University of Florida showed that pawpaw and its leaf extract are effective against tumor growth in the breast, pancreas, and other parts of the body. The antioxidants properties in papaya can also fight the build-up of free radicals in the body. These are paused cells that can cause cancer growth in the human body. The fiber content in papaya (when consumed) travels through the body and binds itself to cancer-causing toxins in the colon. It helps to flush these toxins in the colon cells – Thus preventing colon cancer.
4. Help control diabetes
Papayas is an excellent fruit for diabetic seniors. The vitamins and phytonutrients in the fruit and leaves will not only increase insulin sensitivity in the blood, but the risk of having heart disease will also be reduced. For injuries or wounds, eating pawpaw fruits and drinking tea made from papaw leaves will facilitate the healing process.
5. Treatment of inflammation
The signs of certain Inflammatory diseases common in aged people can be very serious. However, the enzymes (papain and chymopapain,) present in papaya can help reduce the flares and symptoms. Seniors with asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis among many other inflammatory ailments should eat a moderate portion of pawpaw regularly for better health.
6. Stress management
Consuming a plate of pawpaw after a tough day at work is a good way to ease stress. The rich nutrient of vitamin C in Carica papaya can help you relax and wake up very strong the next day. A study by the University of Alabama found that about 200 mg of Vitamin C can help control stress hormones. Therefore seniors are advised to always start their day with a plate of fresh pawpaw.
7. Promotes better Immune system
The human immune system guides the body against various kinds of infections. Findings showed that older people can easily contract infections no matter how little it seems. The major reason for this is age. The human body weakens as its age likewise the internal system – as a result, seniors can fall sick easily. Research found that a single shape-size papaya contains more than 200% of the daily requirement (women 75mg and men 90mg) of Vitamin C. As you know, vitamin C is essential for the growth and repair of tissues in the body – which makes eating pawpaw perfect for boosting immune system and protecting the body against variety of infections and diseases.
How to make papaya tea with pawpaw leaves
Simply follow the steps below to make papaya tea
- Chop 10 leaves of pawpaw
- Boil them with 1/2 gallon of water till it boils down to a quart
- Allow cooling for some minutes
- Sieve the tea into a clean bowl
- Pour the tea into a glass jar with a tight-fitting cap
- Drink either in the morning or at night