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The Amazing Digestive Benefits of Papaya – and a Recipe

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – The rich orange tropical fruit, papaya, not only tastes great but is wonderful for your digestive health! Mexico can proudly say that this delicious fruit originates from the southern part of the country and is now found all over the world – there is a little of Mexico everywhere!

The Papaya has many health benefits ranging from heart health, eye health, skin health to digestive health. In this article we will discuss the amazing digestive benefits that this juicy fruit has, that will make you want to run to the ‘fruteria’ to get some of your own!

Digestive enzymes are vitally important when it comes to breaking down the food that you eat, especially breaking down proteins into its building blocks called amino acids. Digestive enzymes have the ability to accelerate chemical reactions in the mouth, stomach and small intestine and can turn nutrients into substances that your digestive tract can absorb more readily.

Papaya contains two digestive enzymes called papain and chymopapain, both of which not only aid in digestion by breaking down proteins, but can also reduce inflammation in the digestive system. You may have heard of papain being an ingredient in some over-the-counter digestive supplements to help with minor upset stomach, but did you know that this digestive enzyme comes from the fruit papaya?

Papain and chymopapain are natural ‘proteolytic’ digestive enzymes, which have the ability to break up foods that can irritate the stomach and play an important role in the breakdown of proteins into smaller fragments called peptides or amino acids, whereby helping to soothe the stomach by promoting a healthy acidic stomach environment. These enzymes can be found only in raw papaya, which can also be used as a great meat tenderizer as a result of its protein digesting abilities.

You may also be happy to know that not only do the enzymes found in papaya aid in breaking down and absorption of nutrients, but they can also aid in reducing inflammation! This is because the papain can increase the body’s production of cytokines which are a group of proteins that help to regulate inflammation. As a result you have a natural anti-inflammatory pain killer.

Due to these digestive improving benefits, research has indicated that papaya can also improve and reduce bloating and constipation. Just one cup of fresh papaya is high enough in digestive enzymes, antioxidants, fiber (about 7g!) as well as water content that, when eaten on an empty stomach, can help to calm inflammation, clear the digestive tract of toxins and create ease in bowel motions, preventing and relieving constipation as well as calm the stomach and bloating, and even aiding in reducing the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

With so many benefits, go out and get yourself some fresh, ripe papaya! Just ensure when choosing or eating papaya, that the fruit looks fresh with reddish orange skin that is soft to the touch, with no soft spots, as this can indicate spoiled fruit! Papaya contains its best nutrients when fully ripened, so the deeper the color, and fruitier the smell, generally the better. Try this vegan treat recipe that has fabulous digestive benefits.

Tropical Digestive NiceCream
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1/2 (2 cups) Ripe Papaya
1.5 cups Frozen Pineapple
1 cup Frozen Mango
1 can (400ml) Coconut Cream
1/4 cup Agave Syrup
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Curcumin/Turmeric Powder
2 Tablespoon Shredded Coconut
Shredded Coconut to top

Directions:

Cut the papaya into cubes and freeze. Once frozen, add all the ingredients into a blender and blend on ice-cream or frozen function, until it reaches a smooth consistency.

Serve immediately for a soft-serve consistency and top with shredded coconut. For a firmer consistency place in a freezer safe container and freeze for a few hours. Enjoy the digestive enhancing benefits!


Lonneke Botello Hernandez is a Clinical Nutritionist, Personal Trainer and Health Journalist. With over eleven years of clinical experience, she has helped countless people to enhance and improve their long-term health and wellbeing, from weight loss to reducing disease and illness. If you would like to receive a personalized program to reach your health goals sooner, contact her via the Aslon Antiaging Clinic Facebook page or website. “When you improve your health, you improve your life.”

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