Conquistadors arriving in Central America called papayas “the fruit of the angels,” and they weren’t far off the mark. Papayas contain considerable amounts of dietary fiber; vitamin C, A, and E; folate; and a bucket-load of antioxidants, flavonoids, and carotenes. These, in addition to being sources of enzymes like papain and chymopapain, make papayas a no-brainer for natural prevention of chronic and degenerative diseases such as cancer.
Papaya Leaf Extract Kills Cancer Cells
In example, a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology revealed that papayas aid our immune systems in conquering breast, pancreatic, liver, lung, and cervical cancers. A Japanese team led by Dr. Nam Dang exposed 10 types of cancer cell cultures to four strengths of papaya leaf extract. After only 24 hours, growth of all the tumors had slowed, and only malignant and no healthy cells had been damaged.
Based on these findings, Dr. Dang says that unlike many pharmaceutical and chemotherapeutic treatments for cancer, “No one who takes [papaya leaf] extract experiences demonstrable toxicity.”
Papaya and Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Digestion
Cancer isn’t the only chronic disease papaya naturally prevents. The fruits vitamin C content makes them a good nosh for those wary of cataracts and their antioxidant properties land them in many anti-wrinkle, anti-aging topical treatments.
The fiber in papayas help lower cholesterol, but they also have an uncanny ability to bind to toxins, thereby preventing both diabetic heart disease and colon cancer. Its enzymes also help break down protein to aid in digestion and even support production of the body’s own digestive enzymes, which makes it a good candidate for digestive disorders treatment plans.
How to Reap the Natural Health Benefits of Papaya
When picking papaya at the grocery store, lean towards those of an orange-red hue which also aren’t quite ripe (they lose potency with ripening.) Although more research is necessary, papaya leaf extract seems to have more potent benefits than eating tons of the same fruit.
For a healthful snack, try this smoothie:
- 1 cup papaya
- 1 small carrot
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 slice ginger
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 cup coconut milk.