Why Papaya Matters: The Many Health Benefits of Papain Enzymes
6 minute read
You no doubt are familiar with the tropical and sweet papaya fruit but are less likely to be aware of the beneficial digestive enzyme it has within. Papain is a proteolytic enzyme that breaks down proteins in your food into smaller amino acids and peptides that your body can use.
Without proper digestion and food breakdown, your body misses out on what it needs. Keeping your kitchen stocked with papayas and therefore papain is therefore a healthy idea.
The Papaya’s Best Kept Secret
As a great source of vitamin C and folate, the papaya fruit is more commonly known for its tropical and succulent taste. Beyond the sweetness lies a host of nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber that work to promote digestive health and boost your immune system.
Specifically, papaya contain the digestive enzyme papain, which helps to effectively break down the proteins you consume.
While your body is capable of making certain digestive enzymes, these start to decrease with age. It becomes increasingly important as you get older to provide your body with these enzymes from your diet.
Papain can be found in the delicious papaya fruit or in topical, chewable, and capsule supplement forms. How you get the papain is not as important, so much as why you need it. Papain’s role in digestion is well known, but there is so much more this enzyme can do for you.
As a popular folk remedy, papain has been used to treat inflammation and to reduce swelling and pain. Inflammation is a major contributing factor to some of the most serious diseases out there including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, asthma, and cancer.
Studies have found that proteolytic enzymes like papain reduce inflammation more effectively than leading NSAID medications. Too many NSAIDs can come with unpleasant side effects, which make papain even more promising as an anti-inflammatory therapy.
Be sure to check with your doctor first before starting a papain supplement because they can interact with other medications.
When taken between meals, papain travels through your bloodstream to reduce any fluid retention or unwarranted inflammation in your body. Depending on your medical need, you can decide between eating more papaya fruit or taking a daily supplement.
Additional Benefits of Papain
Along with easing digestive troubles and allergic reactions, this makes papain a beneficial enzyme to have around. When you realize just how powerful papain is and what it can do for you, papayas will definitely be on your next shopping list.
Sore Throat Remedy
Sore throats are associated with swelling and pain that can be very disruptive. Any impediment to your ability to eat and swallow comfortably is not a good thing.
Inflammation is the underlying reasons you feel swelling and pain in your throat as a result of some infection, but papain can help to reduce this. Throat lozenges that contain papain have been found to effectively relieve symptoms better than those without.
Poor diet causes much of the digestive troubles we experience but often they can occur as a result of aging. As we get older, the natural enzymes our body makes begin to decrease, and digestion can be impacted.
Without proper breakdown of food, the nutrients we need do not become available in useable forms. Not only can you become malnourished but the undigested food causes digestive problems such as bloating, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome.
| Related: 8 Important Benefits of Eating Pineapple |
Papain, whether as a supplement or direct from the papaya, can help to ease these troubles by maintaining efficient digestive processes.
Papain can also work as a natural remedy for wounds, ulcers, and other skin conditions. The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties help to reduce pain and swelling in the affected area, so your natural defenses can begin healing the area.
You can make your own topical lotion for wounds and skin conditions but should always test on a small area of skin before using. Regular use can also help relieve conditions such as psoriasis too.
Some people have allergic reactions to papain so you need to be sure you are safe to proceed. If there is no reaction, you can apply papain salves or ointments to any wound and be assured of quick and effective healing.
Ease Muscle Pain
Because of the amount of proteins your muscles require for efficient functioning, proteases like papain can help support muscle health and function.
When your muscles are injured or fatigued after exercise, papain can help to relieve pain and inflammation as well as ensure that proteins from your food are efficiently released back to your muscles. When taken before any extended amount of exercise, papain has been shown to improve recovery afterwards and reduces pain.
Relief for Shingles
The anti-inflammatory benefits of papain can help with conditions like shingles. Working as effectively as leading medications, papain can help relieve symptoms such as pain and neuralgia as well as reduce the development of skin lesions.
The Bottom Line
Papayas are wonderful fruit, bringing that tropical vibe to your everyday life. Beyond the sweet juice and tropic sensation, papayas give you papain, an essential enzyme your body needs.
Digestion and other essential processes in your body benefit from this enzyme, so the more you can get the better. Papayas may not be in every meal you eat, but you should always make them an option.