Improve Food Digestion With Papaya

Prevent Acid Reflux With Papaya Enzyme

Prevent GERD With Papaya
Credit: TenaciousR's



Papaya (carica papaya) is a tropical fruit noted for promoting good health. This fruit is remarkable for supporting good digestion and preventing acid reflux. The papaya enzyme, papain, is largely credited for papaya's positive effects on digestive health and prevention of acid reflux.

The Papaya Fruit

The papaya is a pear-shaped fruit that weighs 1 to 2 pounds on average; however, some varieties can weigh up to 10 pounds. A ripe papaya has many round black seeds clustered in the center. The orange-colored edible flesh is soft, juicy and sweet. This tropical fruit has significant amounts of dietary fibers, a food constituent that is critical for good digestion, proper nutrient absorption and good health.

The papaya is not a high nutrient food because the protein and fat contents are low, but it has a significant number of other nutrients and substances that promote good health. It has more beta carotene than carrots. It has significant amounts of lycopene, lutein + zeaxanthin, choline and various antioxidant and bioflavonoids. Some of the specific vitamins and minerals in significant amounts in the papaya are: folate, pentatonic acid, vitamins A, C, E and K; and the minerals, magnesium, potassium calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper and selenium.

One unique constituent of the papaya is papain, a proteolytic digestive enzyme. Proteolytic enzymes are catalytic agents that break down proteins to their amino acid constituents. Papain is also helpful in digesting   fats and carbohydrates, and in the over-all maintenance of a healthy digestion. When foods are properly digested in the stomach, the resulting chyme is quickly moved from the stomach to the small intestine. This prompt movement of the chyme from the stomach helps to prevent indigestion and acid reflux.

Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is the outflow of acid and digestive juices from the stomach to the esophagus. The esophagus is the part of the digestive system that connects the mouth with the stomach. If acid reflux occurs often (two times a week or more) the condition is called  gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This influx of acid into the esophagus can lead to irritation of the mucosal lining of the esophagus. A significant damage to this lining can result in ulceration. Heart burn and painful swallowing can result from this damage. Esophageal cancer may also arise from this assault on the esophagus.

Acid reflux can be minimized or avoided altogether if food is properly digested and moved through the gastrointestinal tract in a timely and proper manner. The amount of food and acid in the stomach are important determinants of indigestion and the severity of acid reflux problem. Since acid secretion in the stomach would normally go down when there is no food in the stomach, foods that accelerate the digestive process can help to control the acid in the stomach and lower the incedence of esophageal acid reflux.

Management of Acid Reflux

Anti-acids and proton inhibitors are generally used for the therapeutic management of acid reflux. This treatment of acid reflux is essentially palliative because it does not improve digestion or reverse the problem. Other palliative measures for acid reflux disease include: keeping the head raised during sleep; eating foods that are easily digested; eating several hours before going to bed; avoiding heavy meals before going to sleep, and avoiding foods that provoke acid reflux.

A nutritional approach utilizing ripe papaya offers an effective and a natural alternative for preventing and reversing acid reflux disease The effectiveness of papaya for treating acid reflux diminishes if the acid reflux problem advances to the ulceration stage. That is why it is important to include papaya in your diet before acid reflux diseases becomes too advanced.

Papaya Enzyme

Acid reflux can also be prevented or reversed by taking only the papaya enzyme. Papaya enzyme is present in every part of the papaya. including the tree trunk, the fruits and the seeds.  The chewable papaya enzyme tablets are inexpensive, and they can be stored at room temperatures. This makes the papaya enzyme tablet a practical and cost-effective alternative to consuming the papaya fruit, but one would forgo the other nutritional benefits of papaya. Some of the specific benefits that would be missed are: the physical stamina-boosting effect of papaya due to its iron-content, and the support for vision health from beta carotene and lutein + zeaxanthin. The rich taste and aroma of this tropical fruit will also be missed.

Health Benefits of the Papaya

Papaya is a fruit with potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties contribute to the myriad of beneficial health effects of this tropical fruit. Some of the health benefits of papaya include the following:

  • Anti-cancer effect, particularly, colon cancer

  • Strengthens the immune system

  • Supports vision and lowers the risk of macular degeneration

  • prevents constipation due largely to its dietary fiber content

  • Improves the blood oxygen-carrying capacity by providing iron for hemoglobin synthesis

  • Supports cardiovascular health, including prevention of atherosclerosis and lowering the plasma level of cholesterol (LDL cholesterol)

  • Prevents type 2 diabetes

  • Lowers the risk and the adverse effects of such inflammatory conditions as asthma and arthritis

History of the Papaya

Papaya is gradually being recognized as an important food in the western part of the world, particularly, in the U.S. The papaya, however, has been known for a long time.  It was an important and revered food for the Latin American Indians over 500 years ago. It is believed that papaya originated in Central America in the region between the Andes of South America and South Mexico. The Spanish and Portuguese explorers discovered this fruit in South America in 1526, and they were instrumental in spreading it to various parts of the world including India, Philippines and parts of Africa. The explorers introduced the papaya to the U.S un the latter part of the 18th century. Today U.S. stands as one of the major growers of papaya with Hawaii as the primary region for its commercial cultivation.  Puerto Rico and Mexico are the other major commercial growers of papaya.